POLICE have launched a manhunt in a bid to track down an attacker who stabbed a man in the neck and back outside a popular pub.

Witnesses reported dozens of police officers outside Ye Olde Smack pub in Leigh's high street on Saturday night and a cordon was temporarily put in place.

Reports suggest the pub was forced to close early while police carried out their investigation.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "We received reports of a stabbing in High Street, Leigh-on-Sea, at around 10.50pm on Saturday, January 12.

"We received information that a man was stabbed in the back and neck following an altercation outside a pub with another man.

"The man was taken to hospital for injuries, which are not life-threatening.

"The other man ran from the scene and remains outstanding.

"He has been described as being white and wore a black jacket and a cap."

A spokesperson for Ye Olde Smack, which is run by Greene King, said: “On Saturday night our team and customers assisted a gentleman who entered the pub looking for help after an incident in the street outside.

“An ambulance was called and we closed the pub early to allow police to carry out their investigations.

“Our thoughts are with the injured man and we hope he makes a quick recovery.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Southend CID on 101 quoting crime reference number 42/6783/19.

Alternatively, you can contact independent crimefighting charity Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111.

You can also share information online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information