AN investigation has been launched after a "serious sexual assault" on New Year's Eve in Epping Forest.

Essex Police officers were called to Pauls Nursery Road, in High Beech, at about 10pm on December 31.

The force attended the scene after receiving reports of a woman being sexually assaulted in what has been described as a "serious" incident. 

According to the police, prior to the attack the victim pulled over their car after a vehicle behind them flashed their lights at her. 

Detective Inspector James Holmes from the police's Serious Crime Directorate said: “This is a complex investigation, but we are working quickly to determine what has happened and support the victim in this case. 

“Our officers have been in the area across the weekend, to carry out multiple enquiries, including speaking to road users who may have been in the area at the time.

"Around 60 cars driving through the area were stopped, to ask whether they had witnessed anything suspicious in the area.

“One of the lines of enquiry we are following is that prior to the assault the victim pulled over her car due to the suspects flashing their lights in the car behind her, indicating that something was wrong."

Essex Police officers are now asking anyone with information which may aid their investigation to get in touch with them immediately.

A spokesman said: "We appreciate that this is concerning, but we are asking for anyone who may have witnessed a similar incident around that area to contact us. 

“In addition to this, we understand that the area is wooded and is a popular walking spot so asking anyone with any information to contact us.” 

Anyone with information, dash cam or other footage in relation to this incident is urged to contact Essex Police and quote incident 1088 of December 31.