A MAJOR police search is underway after a woman was attacked while out running in Southampton this morning.

The 36-year-old woman was running with her dog on Southampton Common when the attack happened.

The victim was near woodland and the ornamental lake at about 9.45 am when a man ran up behind her and lashed out with some sort of weapon.

As a result the woman suffered a superficial cut to an arm and felt a pain in her back. After alerting police, the woman was taken to Southampton General Hospital for treatment.

The injuries are not believed to be life threatening.

Police were searching a large wooded section of Southampton Common with police dogs and officers. A police helicopter was also deployed.

A specialist police team begun a search of the undergrowth near what is thought to be the scene of the attack.

They were using wooden beaters as they walked slowly throw the woodland area.

In total, a team of 25 police officers are working on the case.

The suspect is described as a white man in his late twenties. He is slender, 5ft 7-10ins tall. He has short blond hair, which is darker rather than lighter. He wore a light blue top and navy shorts. He may have a tattoo or mud on an ankle and a dog bite on an arm.

At the scene, Inspector Philip Lamb said the victim was being looked after in hospital with a stab wound - but that she is conscious and talking to police.

Inspector Lamb said: "I think this is an unusual incident. We are still trying to investigate this fully to establish what has happened.

"I would not say to people that they should be worried but I would ask people to remain vigilant and especially in the early morning or late evening when fewer people are around. I would ask them to stay on the main paths and take care.

"If they do say anything untoward they should call police."

Anyone who saw a man of this description or suspicious activity on The Common before 11am is asked to contact police at Southampton on 101.