A MANHUNT has been launched after drugs and a knife were found when a driver fled police in a high speed chase before crashing into a fence.

Police were forced to pursue a Ford Focus through Leigh on Thursday night, at roughly 9.55pm, after it failed to stop a red light.

As police chased the car, it crashed into the fence outside a home in Cricketfield Grove.

On examination of the car a lock knife, a bag of marijuana, an old Nokia phone, and a partially smoked rolled-up cigarette, were found.

The phone, which is not a modern smart phone, could be considered to a be a “burner phone” commonly used and then disposed off by drug dealers.

The driver was uninjured in the crash and managed to run from the scene on foot.

Despite a thorough search of the area, including assistance from a police helicopter and a police drone, officers were unable to locate the offender.

Essex Police’s operational support group, which assisted in the search, tweeted: “Vehicle failed to stop in Southend.

“Vehicle crashed - drugs and a lock knife recovered. Vehicle seized... hunt for the suspects ongoing.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “At 9.55pm on Thursday, April 11, a Ford Focus failed to stop for police after when required after passing through a red light.

“The car was pursued by officers during which it crashed into the fence of a property in Cricketfield Grove, Leigh.

“The male suspect then fled the vehicle and made off on foot. He was pursued by officers and an extensive search of the area was carried out which included support from the police helicopter and the drone unit.

“Unfortunately the suspect was not found.

“Enquiries to find the suspect are ongoing. Anyone with information, CCTV footage or Dash Cam footage is asked to contact Essex Police on 101.”

Alternatively, contact crime fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online visit crimestoppers-uk.org.