Lancashire

Lindsay Birbeck: Police believe woman's body is missing woman

Lindsay Birbeck Image copyright Lancashire Police
Image caption Lindsay Birbeck was last seen on CCTV walking on Burnley Road in Huncoat

The disappearance of a mother-of-two is being treated as murder after a body was found in a Lancashire cemetery close to where she was last seen.

Lindsay Birbeck, 47, was recorded on CCTV in the village of Huncoat, near Accrington, on 12 August.

Formal identification is yet to take place but detectives said they believe a body found in Accrington Cemetery is Ms Birbeck.

A post-mortem examination will be carried out.

'Additional distress'

Forensic officers have been examining the scene since the discovery of a body at about 20:00 BST on Saturday.

Ms Birbeck's "out of character" disappearance has prompted a wave of searches, including of The Coppice behind Burnley Road as well as Huncoat Quarry.

Police are trying to piece together her last movements since she was seen on CCTV on Burnley Road at about 16:00 on 12 August.

Image copyright Lancashire Police
Image caption A woman's body was found in Accrington Cemetery on Saturday

Det Ch Insp Jill Johnston said: "The picture of Lindsay on CCTV Burnley Road is the last sighting we have of her and I need to find out where she has gone after that point and what has happened to her."

She appealed for anyone with CCTV, drone or dashcam footage in the area, particularly around Peel Park Avenue or the cemetery, to come forward.

She added that detectives did not know how long the body had been in the cemetery or how it had got there. She appealed for anyone who saw anything suspicious to contact police.

Ms Birbeck, a teaching assistant, is described as white, slim, 5ft 11in tall, with shoulder-length dark hair.

She was wearing a purple bubble jacket and black leggings and trainers.

Her Huawei mobile phone is also missing, police said.

Image caption Hundreds of volunteers joined searches in the area

Ms Birbeck's family has been informed and are being supported by family liaison officers.

Hundreds of volunteers have helped emergency services search for Ms Birbeck since she went missing two weeks ago.

Accrington Stanley football club used screens at their League One match on Tuesday to highlight her disappearance.

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