Police searching for a missing 59-year-old man have found a body.

Officers found the body of the deceased male close to Whitehall Park in Darwen this morning.

Although no formal identification has taken place the body is believed to be that of Zbigniew Strzelczyk, who was reported missing after walking out of Royal Blackburn Hospital at about 8.25am on October 16.

A wide-scale search involving police officers and mountain rescue volunteers has been taking place since.

Mr Strzelczyk’s family have been informed of the development and are being supported by specially trained officers.

The death is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for HM Coroner in due course.

T/Detective Inspector Jo Williams, of East CID, said: “First and foremost my thoughts are with Mr Strzelczyk’s family at this incredibly difficult time. While no formal identification has taken place, sadly we believe the body to be that of Mr Strzelczyk. Mr Strzelczyk’s family have been supported throughout the search by specially trained officers and that support will continue.

“Everybody was hoping for a more positive conclusion in this case, but I want to take this opportunity to thank everybody involved in the search in what have been very extremely challenging conditions. I would also like to thank the public for their support throughout the search process.”