Wiltshire

Devizes canal body find delays canoe race

Mark Stobbart Image copyright Avon and Somerset Police
Image caption The body of Mark Stobbart , 44, from Devizes was found in the canal

The body of a man has been found in the Kennet and Avon canal in Devizes, delaying the start of the world's biggest canoe race.

Officers are treating the death of 44-year-old Mark Stobbart from Devizes as "unexplained."

The discovery caused the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race to start just over two hours late.

Organisers arranged a new starting point at Quakers Walk bridge and the race began just after 09:00 BST.

A member of the public had called the police after spotting the body close to The Wharf in the town centre shortly before 06:45.

The race, known as the "Canoeists' Everest", takes place over the four days of the Easter weekend.

Competitors paddle 125 miles, carrying their canoes through 77 locks during the gruelling contest.

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