A MAN evaded capture in an early hours police chase around Weymouth - escaping by jumping into the harbour.

Police were today still hunting the man, who is suspected of assaulting a 66-year-old man outside Asda in Newstead Road in the early hours of this morning.

Officers said they chased the suspect around the town for almost half an hour, before he ended up jumping into the harbour. Rescuers searched for him for two hours before the search was stood down.

The Dorset Police helicopter was used in the search together with lifeboat crews and coastguards.

A Dorset Police spokesman said officers were called to the supermarket at 12.15am on Tuesday after the victim said he had been elbowed in the face outside the entrance of the store.

He had been walking towards the store from Newstead Road with a friend when they passed a group of people.

Police believe words were exchanged before the man was assaulted, suffering a cut to his right eyebrow. He was taken to Dorset County Hospital for treatment.

The alleged attacker made off towards North Quay while officers were trying to locate him.

They chased him towards Boot Hill, across to the borough council offices on North Quay, over the Town Bridge, into St Edmund Street up St Alban Street and towards the seafront.

The force spokesman said they came close to catching him on a number of occasions but each time the suspect evaded capture.

The suspect then ran along the rear of Debenhams towards Westham Bridge and police said they believe he then jumped into the inner harbour.

The spokesman said: “At 12.40am officers called for the assistance of the police helicopter, coastguard and lifeboat in the search.

“The helicopter then spotted the suspect swimming between the pontoons in the harbour.”

Portland Coastguard said the lifeboat crew searched the harbour for more than two hours, looking for the man.

The police spokesman said the suspect was not found and inquiries are ongoing If anyone has any information, they should contact Dorset Police on 101, quoting incident number 19:2.