POLICE have launched a manhunt after a van was struck by a missile thrown from an A12 footbridge.

The van was struck by an object, believed to be a brick or a stone, at about 8.15am this morning.

It was thrown from King Coel Bridge, which connects King Coel Road and Halstead Road to Chitts Hill, in Stanway, onto the southbound carriageway.

Police closed the southbound carriageway at junction 27, at Spring Lane, while initial investigations were carried out, between 8.15am and 9.15am.

Although the missile struck the van windscreen at eye level, the male driver, from Clacton, was unhurt as the safety glass windscreen shattered into small pieces.

Essex Police have issued an description of a boy aged between 14 and 18-years-old, who was seen on the bridge immediately before the incident.

He is described was white and was wearing a baseball cap.

Investigating officer, PC Allan Discombe, said: “The driver was lucky that the windscreen wasstrong enough to take the impact.

“Had the object been bigger and had he been driving faster he could have been seriously injured.

"Throwing anything at traffic, especially fast-moving traffic on a dual carriageway, is extremely reckless and dangerous.

“The driver could have lost control and crashed into other vehicles and there could have been serious injuries or fatalities.”

The southbound carriageway was closed while police carried searched the area around the bridge for the object but nothing was found.

Anyone with information on the incident should contact PC Discombe, at Stanway road policing unit on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.