A TEAM of people searching for Ramsbottom man Steven Dyson have confirmed he has died.

The 'FIND Steven Dyson' group said it was with 'heavy hearts' that they learned of the 22-year-old's death.

A statement from the team read: "It’s with heavy hearts that the team at ‘FIND Steven Dyson’ have learned that Steven has sadly passed away; our thoughts go out to his mum, Lorraine, siblings – Terry and Lisa, along with all of their family and friends.

"We must understand that a family so many care about is grieving and as such it is imperative that we respect their privacy at a difficult time.

"This group started just a few days ago and we have seen this amazing community rally in their hundreds to help our campaign; we will be in touch through the coming days but for now, thank you and take care, Ramsbottom."

On Facebook, his mother Lorraine Roach said: "I am devastated to say that the body found today is my lovely beautiful boy Steven.

"I am heartbroken. I thankyou ramsbottom people for the massive overwhelming support. My angel my son. My love."

MP James Frith also offered his condolences to the family and praised the Ramsbotttom community for coming together in their bid to find Steven.

He said: "Such sad news. My thoughts and deepest sympathies to Steven’s dear mum and all his family and friends.

"The outpouring of support this last week from our Ramsbottom community and beyond has been incredible and I hope, in some way, gives strength to everyone mourning.

"My thanks to our brilliant police, all the volunteers and those who donated items to the cause."

Police are still to officially confirm the identity of the body found during the search for Steven Dyson.

Officers were called shortly after 10.30am on Saturday, January 6, to a report that there was a body in the river in Ramsbottom, near Railway Street.

There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding this man's death but enquiries are ongoing.

It is at the worst of times we often see the best of people and I am so proud of our town for how we all pulled together this week.

Chief inspector Tom Martin said: "Sadly officers have found the body of a man in the river, but it is too soon to say if this is the body of Steven Dyson.

"His family are aware and we are offering them specialist support at this incredibly difficult time.

"I would like to thank everyone who came out and helped with the searches, and also the people who shared our appeals and supported the investigation.

"We are still actively looking for Steven and working to identify the man found in the river and the cause of his death."

Residents spoke of their sadness after hearing that a body had been discovered in the river.

Paul Morris, aged 44, of Railway Street, said yesterday: "There were around seven police cars, two ambulances and two fire engines here this morning, and they seemed to be focusing all their attentions along the riverbank, next to our neighbour's house.

"One of our neighbours said they had spoken to a jogger who had seen a body in the river and reported it.

"It is very very sad.

"As someone living nearby, it is mixed emotions. You just think of the family."

Another resident said: "My heart goes out to the family of whoever's body has been found."

Police officers placed a cordon up and re-directed traffic at Summerseat Garden Centre this morning.

They also prevented pedestrians from walking past the scene at the railway bridge which crosses the river.

Resident Michelle Clark, aged 43, of Railway Street, also said yesterday: "I was out getting the bins when a jogger passed. She was turned back by police. They were stopping traffic coming through.

"When we went for a run at around 10.15am the bridge was open again."

A large police presence remained at the scene in Railway Street throughout the course of the day.

Crime Scene Investigation vechicles, forensics and the police's underwater marine unit were in attendance.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service were also in attendance.

Crews from Bury, Ramsbottom and a specialist water unit from Heywood were called to the scene at around 10.30am.

Steven, aged 22, was last seen at 9am on New Year's Day leaving a party in Ramsbottom.

Police believe Mr Dyson was assaulted before his disappearance and that he could have been seriously injured.

A 21-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault on Tuesday and was later released under investigation.