The wife of a Suffolk man who has gone missing after walking out of Colchester General Hospital is "extremely anxious" about his safety. 

Gerald Shelcot was reported missing by staff at the hospital shortly after 8.30am this morning. 

He was last seen 20 minutes earlier. 

Mr Shelcot, in his 70s, was dressed only in his dark-blue pyjamas and a blue jumper.

He was also wearing a hospital wristband and has a cannula in his left hand.

He is described as white, is approximately 5ft 9ins tall, has thinning hair and a grey beard.

For the past five hours, an extensive police search has been taking place in hospital grounds, the nearby Highwoods Country Park and surrounding areas in a bid to find him. 

The police helicopter has been helping officers on the ground.

Officers have alerted their counterparts at British Transport Police and Suffolk Police of his disappearance and description in case he attempts to return home to Felixstowe.

A police spokesman said: "Gerald is only wearing these clothes and has no coat so, although it is a sunny day, it still remains a cold one and so we are desperately looking to find him quickly before he suffers too much from the low temperatures.

"We would urge anyone who sees a man fitting his description to contact us immediately as we are concerned, as is Gerald’s wife, about his welfare and safety.”

Gerald is thought not to have any money or access to a telephone. Officers also alerted nearby retailers to the ongoing search.

Anyone who sees this man is urged to contact Essex Police immediately on 999.