INVESTIGATORS looking into the death of a 35-year-old man have found the inflatable boat he is believed to have taken for a trip on a swollen river.

North Yorkshire Police said Mark Allan’s 6ft yellow inflatable dinghy was spotted by a member of the public this morning in the Catterick Bridge area, two days after his body was found nearby on the River Swale’s banks.

A major search and rescue operation was launched, involving Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team, a police helicopter and 20 officers, after Mr Allan’s partner reported him missing from his home in Brompton-on-Sale, near Richmond, at 4.50am on Saturday.

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Recent snow and rain in the Yorkshire Dales are understood to have increased the volume and speed of the river’s water, which was close to freezing.

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death, but declined to state why Mr Allan had chosen to go out on his boat so early in the morning.

Chief inspector Mark Grange said police were focusing efforts on establishing Mr Allan’s cause of death.

He said: “We have enough information to believe he left in the early hours of the morning and his intention was to go on the river.”