The death of a man in Witham is being treated as unexplained after a body was found near a river.

Emergency services are at the scene in Chipping Hill, near the River Walk, where a man's body was discovered this morning.

Essex Police have been at the scene since around 9.40am this morning and have said enquiries are ongoing.

A spokesman said: "We have been at the scene since 9.40am this morning.

"At the moment enquries are ongoing and the death is being treated as unexplained."

"At least two ambulances, three paramedics and three police vehicles are still at the scene."

One resident, who asked not to be named, said: "It's really quite shocking, one of my neighbours told me about it earlier.

"It's very upsetting and I'm just praying for whoever it is.

Another said: "I only live a few houses away, but I had no idea.

"Nothing normally happens around here, but we had an attempted rape just recently and now this, it's so strange."

A neighbour who lives near the scene said: “There are police everywhere and ambulances.

“They have taped off the pedestrian way over the bridge.

“They have cordoned off the whole area.

“It is dreadful something like this has happened. It is unbelievable.”

Update 12.30pm

Police are now looking at a spot well away from the road and off the path.

Braintree and Witham Times:

Update 1.15pm:

The ambulance service and forensic teams are starting to leave the scene, although the police cordon remains in place.

Update 2.25pm:

Pictures from our photographer Al Underwood

Braintree and Witham Times:

Braintree and Witham Times:

Braintree and Witham Times:

Update 3pm

Armed police have been seen in Maldon Road, Witham.

It is unknown if this is a related incident.

Essex Police have been contacted. 

Braintree and Witham Times:

Photo by Mark Galpin 

Update 7.45pm

An Essex Police spokesman said: "Enquiries are ongoing this evening into the circumstances surrounding the death of a man in Witham. 

"We attended Chipping Hill earlier today following reports at around 9.40am, that a man’s body had been found in a river.

"Officers will be conducting localised enquiries tonight in connection with the incident, including house to house enquiries.

"We are appealing for anyone who thinks they can help us establish what happened to get in touch.  

"The team would especially like to hear from anyone who may have seen anything out of place in the area, between 3pm on Thursday and around 9.40am on Friday.

"We would also like to hear from anyone who may have seen a man in his 20s or 30s, around the area within these timeframes. 

"He may have been wearing black jogging bottoms and red trainers. It is possible that he may not have been wearing a top. 

"The man’s death is currently being treated as unexplained, and enquiries are ongoing." 

Anyone with information should call 101.