A helicopted scoured Kelvedon following the theft of a quad bike hours earlier.
The Kawasaki KVF 650 was stolen from the driveway of a home in Station Road some time between 11am and 4pm yesterday.
An Essex Police spokesman said: “Later that evening, just before 8pm, Essex Police received reports that two men were seen acting suspiciously in the area.
“Officers searched, with the help of the police helicopter, but they were not found."
Rumours on social media and reports on another newspaper’s website had incorrectly suggested the search was launched following an armed robbery in the village.