A BODY recovered from the River Wear yesterday was that of missing pensioner Billy Jones, police have confirmed.

The 88-year-old had been missing from his home in Ferryhill, County Durham, since Friday October 16.

Durham police had co-ordinated one of the county's biggest and longest lasting search operations in a bid to find the former pitman.

Sadly, on Sunday officers were called to the river in the Framwellgate and Millburngate area of Durham City to reports of a body in the water.

A fire and rescue crew helped to retrieve the body at around 11.15am.

A police spokesman said that a relative had today formerly identified the body.

He said the death was not being treated as suspicious and a post mortem will be carried out tomorrow to establish the cause of his death.

Mr Jones is survived by a wife, Jenny, to whom he had been married for 67 years, son Glynn, of Ferryhill, daughter, Jan Johnson, of Spennymoor, and four grandchildren.

The family thanked volunteers, police officers and anyone else involved in the search for Mr Jones.