POLICE are investigating a serious sexual assault that has taken place on the canal side at Devizes.

Officers are guarding a large cordon which starts at Northgate Bridge in Northgate Street.

There is a large police presence on the Bath Road and The Nursery.

It is understood that police are searching for a suspect in the area using a helicopter and a flare attached to a parachute.

The canal on the Bath Road has been taped off and is being guarded by police officers.

Both sides of The Nursery by the Esso fuel station on the Bath Road are taped off with two cars and an ambulance at the scene.

It is understood the victim is a woman and that the suspect was wearing a yellow shirt.

Devizes Police have released a statement saying "Officers in Devizes are investigating a report of a sexual assault which occurred earlier this evening near to the canal, by the Esso garage, Bath Road.

"Officers have been assisted by the police helicopter and a scene is currently cordoned off near to the canal while we continue with our enquiries."

Police as asking if anyone has witnessed anything suspicious in the area which could assist the investigation to call 101 immediately.

Many locals have taken to social media to share news of a serious assault.

One person said: “Just went to the garage to get some bits and it seems to be down there by the canal but no idea what has happened.”

Another said: “Just walked past with my dog. Someone was taken away in an ambulance. Canal path is taped off. Helicopter was hovering overhead.”