THE body of a father-of two whose disappearance prompted a massive search operation has been found in the River Ribble.

David Young, who went missing five weeks ago, was discovered on the bank of the river, close to Avenham Park in Preston, by a walker.

Early indications show Mr Young, 28, drowned.

Detectives investigating his disappearance said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

They are investigating how he came to be in the river.

Following his death hundreds of messages of condolence have flooded into the Lancashire Telegraph and a Facebook page, dedicated to the father-of-six-year-old twin boys, which has more than 4,400 followers.

His devastated mother, Jacqueline Marsden, 52, had remained hopeful her son would be found alive.

She said it was completely out of character for Mr Young not to be in touch with his family, especially brother Michael and sister Zoe, or his friends.

Yesterday the mum-of-three said she was too upset to talk.

But Zoe posted a message saying: “Going to miss you forever. I can’t wait to meet u again. Love you forever.”

And close friend Vickie Pilkington said: “You will never be forgotten and you will always be in are hearts.

“Just because you are not here anymore doesn’t mean we are not thinking about you.

“I know you’re going to be watching over us all. Love you so much good night baby and god bless xxx.”

Initially, police said they were unable to identify Mr Young’s body, which was found at 2pm on Wednesday and had been in the water for a number of weeks.

His family were informed on Thursday evening after police were able to conclusively prove it was Mr Young.

Specially trained officers are now supporting the family of the former Our Lady and St John Catholic Arts College pupil.

Mr Young, known as ‘Youngy’ to his friends, was last seen in a dishevelled state in Albion Street near to the canal bridge on October 17 at around 10.30pm.

Following his disappearance there was a prolonged police search which including dredging the Leeds and Liverpool Canal twice, searching waste land and asking members of the public to check their gardens and sheds.

Family and friends also held their own searches for the popular dad.

Tina Houghton posted on the Lancashire Telegraph website: “So sad, we are not supposed to bury our children. This is heartbreaking. I can not imagine what his family are going through. God bless you all. RIP David, at least your family can now put you to rest.”

Another poster said: “Such a sad outcome. Having been involved in one of the searches, this news has brought me tears today. I do hope he is in a better place and my thoughts go out to his family and friends.”

DI Mark Winstanley said: “This is a tragic set of circumstances and this is the news that I’m sure David’s family have been dreading.

“Our thoughts are with the family and we will continue to provide them support through this difficult time.

“We will be continuing our investigations into the circumstances of how David ended up in the river but as a result of a post mortem and our investigation to date we believe there are no suspicious circumstances.”

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