A BODY found in a field is believed to be that of a pensioner missing for three months.

DNA tests were being carried out last night to confirm if the body was that of Alzheimer's sufferer George Harding.

The 83-year-old disappeared from his home in Geoffrey Avenue, Nevilles Cross, in Durham City on August 12.

A massive search involving teams of officers, the police helicopter and a poster and leaflet campaign failed to find any trace of the former church minister.

The body was discovered on Sunday by a man walking through rough ground at the edge of a field near Farewell Hall Farm, close to the Cock of the North pub.

The field is less than a mile away from Mr Harding's home ,which he shared with his elderly wife.

Detective Chief Inspector Kim Hunter, of Durham City CID, said the body was thought to be that of Mr Harding.

He added that because of the condition in which it was found, it would be some time before formal identification could be confirmed.

Det Chief Insp Hunter said that the find was not being treated as suspicious.

Mr Harding's family have been informed and are being kept in touch with developments.