A police investigation was launched in a Moray town yesterday after a pensioner was found lying unconscious in the street.
Officers sealed off large sections around Lossiemouth’s Fairisle Place after a 68-year-old man was discovered with “unexplained” head injuries at around midnight on Saturday.
He was taken to hospital and remained in a serious condition last night.
Blue and white police tape cordoned off streets around the spot where he was discovered, including a large chunk of a public park, in the early hours of yesterday.
Uniformed officers carried out door-to-door inquiries as they attempted to piece together what had happened to the man.
And forensics experts wearing white body suits and masks scoured the scene for evidence, focussing their efforts on the alleyway where he was found.
They took numerous photographs of the stretch of pavement where the man collapsed.
Yesterday afternoon, the force issued an appeal for information under the belief that the man had been assaulted.
But last night, following further investigation, police ruled out his wounds were the result of any crime.
A spokesman said: “There is no suggestion that this man has been assaulted, we are treating his injuries as unexplained.
“Inquiries are ongoing to establish how the male sustained his injuries, and he remains in hospital in a serious condition.”
It is understood that the unresponsive pensioner was found by a local dog walker, who contacted police.
One neighbour described frantic scenes as officers raced to their police car to retrieve medical supplies upon reaching the man.
The Fairilse Place resident said: “Myself and my partner were returning home from Elgin shortly after midnight, when we saw police cars come flying past.
“Three officers got out and ran down towards where the man was found, and one came sprinting back to get a first aid kit from the car just afterwards.
“It all looked pretty serious.”
Another neighbour added: “There is a lot of concern for this man, I heard that his head was all smashed when he was found.
“There’s been a massive police presence ever since it happened.
“Everybody around here is just hoping that he turns out to be OK.”
Another resident reported seeing the pensioner at about 11.45pm, and said he “showed no signs of injury” at that point.
He added: “It must have been shortly after that when he became injured, so it seems it didn’t take too long for someone to find him and we can be grateful for that.”
It is understood that the injured man has a house at the nearby Castle Court, and was unable to explain what happened.
Police are instead seeking information on the pensioner’s movements that night, and appealed for anyone who spotted him to come forward.
The man is described as being white with a greying beard, approximately 5ft 4in tall and with a stocky build.
He was wearing a checked shirt, blue jeans and a dark coloured hooded top when he was found in the south of the town.
Anyone who saw the man in the vicinity of Fairisle Place around midnight is asked to contact the police on 101.