THE body of a man has been found in the grounds of a town centre church.

A passer-by made the discovery at about 8am today at St Cuthbert's in Darlington.

The man's identity is thought to be known to police, but next of kin are yet to be informed so he has not been publicly identified. He is believed to be in his late 30s.

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Inspector Mark Hall, of Darlington police, said: "It appears a man who was sleeping in the graveyard has been found dead.

"Scene of crime officers have been at the scene and the body has been removed.

"It will be examined and work will continue to follow up any further investigation."

Anyone with any information about the man is asked to contact police on 0345-6060365.