Police probe after body found

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A BODY has been found in woodland close to the River Almond in Livingston.

Police cordoned off the secluded area, just below the grounds of Livingston Rugby Club, after the discovery of the dead body last night.

Officers were on the scene from around 6pm and forensic teams were brought in to scour the surrounding land.

And as a crowd of onlookers grew, the arrival of a private ambulance appeared to confirm that a body had been found.

Police today said the body of a 45-year-old man had been discovered at the spot.

A spokeswoman said: “There do not appear to be any suspicious circumstances. A report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.”

One local resident, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s a popular spot for walkers and people with dogs, so it was quite disturbing to see it all closed off, and an ambulance sitting nearby.

“I was just out walking my dog when I saw it, and there were quite a few people around, although the police weren’t saying anything.

“There have been quite a few bodies washed up from the River Almond around there in recent months, although this appeared to be in a bit of the wood about 50 yards up the hill, and the river never goes that high.”

The area is close to the section of riverbank where police discovered the body of a man in August, while searching for missing pensioner Robert Irvine.

The scene is also close to the area where detectives were searching for the body of missing Mary Ferns, who disappeared on June 17, 2008, after she travelled from her home in the Howden area of Livingston to Edinburgh city centre.

Despite several national television appeals, police had not had a breakthrough on that case until information from the public in January led to them returning to the River Almond.

In April, another search led to the discovery of the unidentified remains of a man.

The search also continues for Mary Ferns.