The body of a murdered pensioner was found at home by his son after a neighbour raised the alarm.Â
Widower Dennis Kellond, 88, had last been seen cutting a hedge in the garden of his bungalow before the weekend.
A neighbour said: "He was as fit as a fiddle for a man his age and although he was self-isolating because of the coronavirus, that hadn't stopped him keeping busy. "I hadn't seen him for several days, so called his son who then came over and found him. It is terribly sad."
Mr Kellond's body was found on Monday morning at the home he had shared with his wife Sylvia until her death in 2013. The couple had three children.
The red-bricked bungalow sits behind a wall and large gates close to the village of Godstone, just off the M25 motorway in Surrey.
Detectives were awaiting the victim's formal identification and the results of a post-mortem examination which they hoped would establish how Mr Kellond died.
A neighbour said: "We were both in the Godstone Preservation Society. He was a pleasant and smiley person.
"It's totally unexpected and absolutely horrendous. It's incredible and appalling that this has happened.
"He was a widower, an old man. How could someone do this to an old man? We are all in a state of shock."
Neighbours said his murder followed a string of break-ins in which masked suspects had stolen bicycles and tools from garden sheds.
One said she had captured pictures of the suspected burglars on wildlife cameras as they passed through her garden on Easter Friday.
She added: "There were two of them wearing white PPE overalls and white masks. It happened over Easter and has been reported to the police.
"They didn't steal anything from us but have taken items from others. They have stolen bikes, lawnmowers and power tools.
"It's really strange to be stealing while people are in their homes on lockdown. It's affected the whole village. We have a community Facebook group and we have been discussing it there."
Surrey Police closed the A25 for 24 hours and were carrying out searches and forensic examinations, while also asking neighbours to report anything suspicious in the past few days.
Detective Chief Inspector Colin Pirie said: "The investigation is still in the early stages, but we would like to reassure the local community that we are doing everything we can to establish the circumstances of this man's death.
"Our thoughts remain with his family and friends at this time who are being supported by specialist officers.
"If you have any information which could help us, please get in touch with us as soon as possible."