Police searching for a missing couple and their newborn child have said they “do not wish to interrupt their family life” and the baby’s welfare is their “overriding concern”.

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon, along with their child, have been sought by officers since their vehicle broke down on the M61 near Bolton on Thursday.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) previously said evidence suggested Ms Marten had “very recently given birth and neither her or the baby have been assessed by medical professionals”.

As they issued a fresh appeal following sightings of the mother in the county, Essex Police insisted their efforts were focused on the infant’s wellbeing.

“Clearly, the overriding concern that we share with our colleagues at Greater Manchester Police is for Mark and Constance’s newborn child,” the force’s Detective Chief Inspector Rob Huddleston said.

“We do not wish to interrupt their family life; this search is primarily to ensure the welfare of the couple’s child.

“We are carrying out a number of enquires in and around Colchester in order to locate them. We’re also liaising with colleagues at British Transport Police around potential onward travel from Colchester.

Police released a CCTV image of a woman believed to be Constance Marten seen near Harwich Port in Essex. Pic: GMP

“I would ask the people of Colchester, and indeed wider north Essex, to please familiarise yourself with Mark and Constance’s faces and report any sightings to us immediately.”

A CCTV image released earlier was thought to show Ms Marten in a red shawl near Harwich Port in Essex at 9am on Saturday.

Police say Ms Marten was later seen in Colchester, Essex, about an hour later – the last sighting of her.

After their vehicle broke down, the family left the motorway and walked towards Anchor Lane bridge, which links the Highfield and Little Hulton areas.

Mr Gordon is described as wearing dark clothing while Ms Marten, who has a southern accent, was wearing a burgundy coat. The baby was swaddled.

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