Police have stepped up their search efforts in Stevenston as they continue their hunt for the attacker who left a female police officer in hospital with serious injuries.

Police Scotland’s major investigation team was were scouring an area of grass and woodland in Burnbank Street on Friday, with the team, expected to be in place over the next few days.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Police hunt for evidence after Stevenston attack

It is understood that North Ayrshire Council workers attended the scene to remove trees and clear bushes to allow the investigation to continue.

The 30-year-old officer was reportedly stabbed in the incident at a property in nearby Arthur Street.

She has since been released from hospital.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Police hunt for evidence after Stevenston attack

The incident happened while the officer was on duty, responding to a report of a break-in shortly after 2am on Wednesday, October 18.

Two other officers were also at the scene at the time.

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said today: “We can confirm that our Streetscene Ground Maintenance service is cutting back vegetation at the playing fields near Arthur Street/Burnbank Street, Stevenston, to allow our colleagues at Police Scotland to carry out an extensive search of the shrub areas.

“The works commenced on Thursday afternoon and will be ongoing over the weekend.”

There has been a large police presence in Stevenston since the attack.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Police hunt for evidence after Stevenston attack

On Tuesday evening, officers conducted a 'stop and interview' operation in Arthur Street.

They spoke to more than 30 motorists and other members of the public in an attempt to find out any additional information which could assist them in the investigation.

Detective Inspector Jonny MacKinnon, from Police Scotland’s major investigation team, said this week: “We have had an encouraging response from those we spoke to and I would like to thank everyone for their support and co-operation.

"The information we have gathered is being assessed by officers and will be followed up as required

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Police hunt for evidence after Stevenston attack

“To seriously harm an officer who was simply doing her job and responding to a report of a crime in the community is deplorable and I would continue to urge anyone with information about what happened, who is yet to speak to us, to come forward.

"Any small piece of information could prove crucial in leading us to identify whoever is responsible."

Chief Inspector Fraser Normansell, area commander for North Ayrshire, said: "Our officers show their commitment to serving and protecting the public every day with no hesitation.

"It is vitally important that the local community comes forward with any information they have about this appalling attack. We will continue to have additional police patrols in the area to provide reassurance.”

Detectives have set up an online portal to encourage members of the public to submit information. This can be accessed at https://mipp.police.uk/operation/SCOT23S35-PO1

Anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland via 101, quoting incident number 0240 of 18 October, 2023.

Alternatively, information can be supplied anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Earlier this week, two men appeared in court charged with possession of offensive weapons in Arthur Street.

As reported previously by the Herald, Andrew Morgan, 43, and 55-year-old Thomas McKenzie made no plea or declaration and were released on bail following a private hearing at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court on Monday.

The charges laid against the pair are not believed to be in connection with the October 18 incident.