A MOTORIST drove into a group of residents who had confronted him after he sounded his horn continually early in the morning.

An off-duty police officer suffered serious leg injuries after a hit and run incident in Overton Drive, Wanstead.

Mystery surrounds the details of what happened as most residents have refused to comment when approached by the Guardian and the police are refusing to confirm or deny any elements of the investigation.

Tim Downes, of Overton Drive, lives near where the incident happened, close to Wanstead Golf Club.

The 69-year-old said early on Sunday morning a car horn began sounding.

He said: "There was a chap causing commotion very early in the morning.

"It is very unusual for this area, it's a very quiet road and there's not normally any trouble.

"The chap was sounding the horn and people went out to take issue with him and ask what he was doing.

"It finished up as a hit and run."

Mr Downes said he was awoken by the sound and he thought the driver was trying to attract somebody's attention.

He said there were probably about three or four residents who went to speak to the driver and a policeman who lives in the road was the person who was hit by the black Volkswagen Golf.

One Overton Drive resident, a woman in her 30s - who would not be named, said: "I heard the noise and thought it must have been a crash as it was continuous, like when someone is slumped over the wheel.

"I was feeding my baby so didn't go out but it's awful.

"It's very nice here and the neighbours are friendly, I hope they find the culprit."

Another resident, a man in his 40s - who also would not be named, said: "I think it must have been someone who was drunk or on drugs.

"You'd have to be out of your mind to do that."

Mr Downes said he only knows the injured policeman as 'Peter' but he described him as "very well known and well respected, the sort of chap who would go out and not think of himself when trying to sort out something that was going wrong".

The incident happened on Sunday, November 21, just after 6am.

Anyone with information should call police on 0300 123 1212.