A MAN who went missing while out walking on Thursday morning has been found dead.

A major search operation was launched on Friday to try to find 70-year-old John Rayton, from Preston.

It was believed that Mr Rayton may have used public transport to travel to Gisburn to go walking in the area, having first fed the ducks at Royal Preston Hospital.

A walker found Mr Rayton’s body at around 1.30pm on Saturday at the hamlet of Ingsend, Skeleron Lane, near Rimington.

The large-scale search operation was launched after Mr Rayton had failed to return home on Thursday afternoon. His wife had described him as a ‘man of routine’ and was expecting him home between 3pm and 5pm.

When he failed to return home she raised the alarm.

Mr Rayton’s granddaughter Maisie Rayton, who had appealed through Twitter for members of the public to be on the lookout for the missing walker, used the social network to thank those who had helped in the search.

She said: “Thanks to all who helped search for my grandad.

“He has been found by a member of public. RIP grandad.”

A major search had been mounted by Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue Team, Bowland Pennine MRT and Bolton MRT, aided by animals and handlers from Search and Rescue Dogs England and Sarda Wales, along with an RAF Sea King helicopter.