POLICE investigating the disappearance of a mother-of-two have this evening confirmed that a body has been found.

Officers were alerted to the discovery in Accrington Cemetery on Saturday evening and have now confirmed that the find is that of a woman's body.

A detailed examination of the scene has been carried out by forensic experts today, Sunday.

A police spokesman added that they are not currently in a position to confirm the woman's identity but said that the family of missing teaching assistant Lindsay Birbeck had been informed of the latest developments.

UPDATE: Murder inquiry launched following discovery of body believed to be that of Lindsay Birbeck

Officers were called to the cemetery just before 8pm on Saturday night after a member of the public made the discovery at the far end of the burial ground near the East Lancashire railway line.

It is understood to have been concealed.

By this morning large sections of the cemetery had been sealed off by dozens of officers and a white forensic tent had been set up for further investigations.

Around 3.30pm several officers were seen carrying a bag away from the scene.

The intense police activity left visitors to the cemetery shocked.

The arrival of the large police presence and forensic team at the graveyard follows an extensive search for Ms Birbeck who has not been sighted since she went missing from her home in Burnley Road, Huncoat around 4pm on August 12.

She was last seen on CCTV footage shortly afterwards walking towards Accrington town centre.

A police spokesman said late this evening: "Following a discovery at Accrington Cemetery on the evening of Saturday, August 24th we can now sadly confirm that the find is that of the body of a woman.

"Police were called at shortly before 8pm on Saturday, August 24th to a report by a member of the public of the find in an area of Accrington Cemetery, Burnley Road.

"A lengthy and detailed examination of the scene has been carried out through the day by forensic experts.

"We are not in a position to confirm the woman’s identity at this stage and while the family of missing teaching assistant Lindsay Birbeck have been told of this latest development we would ask once again that people do not speculate on social media as this could cause the family additional distress."

A Home Office post mortem examination will now be carried out to try to establish the cause of death.  

One visitor Malcolm Taylor, 71, from Rishton was on his weekly trip to tend family graves.

He said yesterday: “Every day this week I have seen police officers sweeping up and down the cemetery in a line.

“They appeared to be looking at graves and searching for someone.

“I’ve seen police again today. I am just shocked by what is happening.”

John Matthews, aged 48 from Huncoat said: “I’ve seen a load of police cars and vans at the cemetery and they have been at the Coppice as well during the week looking round there.

“It’s disturbing what’s happened and I’m very shocked.”

Ms Birbeck's Huawei mobile phone is also missing.

She was last seen wearing a purple Rab bubble jacket, black leggings, a white shirt with blue pin stripes and black trainers with a white sole