A MASSIVE police search which was sparked after a man was arrested beside the River Ouse in York was called off after officers failed to find anything suspicious.

An underwater search team was brought in to search the river near Clifton Bridge, after a 33-year-old man was arrested "for his own safety" under the Mental Health Act on Friday night.

The man had apparently been seen in the river.

As reported in later editions of Saturday's Evening Press, police cordoned off the area from about 8pm on Friday, after two men stopped a taxi leaving Government House Road and asked the occupants to call the police.

A woman who was in the taxi told the Evening Press that one of the two men who stopped it was "in a real state", and appeared wet with blood on him.

She said the other man, who was on a bicycle, had said: "He has found two bodies in a bag in the river," later adding he had found "two babies".

A pair of shoes and a crumpled pair of trousers were seen on grass near a house in the area. They were later removed by forensic officers.

Officers also scoured an area 400 yards either side of the bridge, as well as the river itself, before finally leaving the scene just before 4pm on Saturday.

The arrested man, who is not from the York area, has been admitted to hospital.

Updated: 10:50 Monday, June 14, 2004