DETECTIVES are investigating an attempted knifepoint abduction in a supermarket car park.

The incident took place at around 2.40pm today in the car park of Asda, in the Turner Rise Retail Park, Colchester.

A woman is understood to have been approached from behind by a man who was brandishing a knife and who then told her to get inside a vehicle.

Witness Lizzy Coulter saw the victim outside the store following the incident.

She said: “Myself and a friend were leaving Asda and saw a young lady looking very distressed in the car park.

“When I approached her she said ‘He has a knife’.

“Speaking to the lady, who had her small son with her and trying to calm her down, she said as she was strapping her son into the car seat, a man approached from behind, held a knife to her and said get into the passenger seat.

“She quickly slammed the door shut and locked her son in the car and started shouting for help.

“The man ran off. She was very shaken but handled it so well.”

As the man fled, he was followed by a witness who is understood to have taken a photograph of a suspect vehicle.

An Essex Police spokeswoman said officers were first called to reports of threats made to a woman in the car park at about 2.40pm.

The spokeswoman said: “We were called to reports that a woman was threatened in the car park of Asda in Turner Rise, Colchester.

“The victim was approached by a man who is believed to have been armed with a knife.

“Thankfully, the woman was not injured, although she is understandably very shaken.”

She added: “Officers conducted a thorough search of the area.”

The spokeswoman said a man was later arrested in Marks Tey on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and a public order offence.

The man is in custody helping police with their inquiries.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

An Asda spokesman praised customers for their quick-thinking.

"We are aware of an incident that took place in our Colchester store yesterday and we are assisting police with their inquiries," he said.

"Our thoughts are with the customer who was involved in what must have been a really scary incident, and would like to thank customers for their quick thinking to call the authorities.’’