THE body of a man was found in the Leeds and Liverpool canal in Blackburn this morning.

Police were called to Lockside off Bolton Road at around 11am and set up cordons around the towpath.

The man is believed to be in his 50s and police are now contacting next of kin.

A police spokesman said: "We are in the process of tracing the next of kin of the deceased man, thought to be in his 50s, who has not yet been formally identified.

"Enquiries are on-going to ascertain the circumstances surrounding his death.

"If anyone saw a man in his 50s, wearing a navy-blue jacket, by the canal or surrounding area around 9.30pm last night or subsequently they are asked to contact police on 101 quoting log number 0486 of February 27th."

Roy Parker, 82, who lives nearby, said: “I have just got back and seen there was about five police cars and vans here.

“It looks as if there was a body in the canal, I don’t know if it was at the top end or further down.

“It is not something that surprises me as there have been a few who have been found in recent years.

“It is a real shame as they would not have lasted long in there with the weather.”

An 80-year-old, who lived on Lockside, who did not want to be named, said: “It looked as if they were pulling someone out from the bottom of the basin. I did not know what had happened and there was a lady on the phone and the police arrived here a little time later.

“It is very upsetting to see and I was going to go visit some cousins but it is very sad so I will just stay in as it may upset them if I have to tell them.”