A man has been found dead in a mysterious fire at a graveyard in the north east.
Firefighters were called to Ushaw Moor graveyard, County Durham after neighbours spotted a “small fire” about 6am on Thursday.
There they found the body of a man and police later cordoned off the area as a crime scene.
Officers said they were working to inform the family of a man who had been reported missing of the death.
A forensics tent has been set up around the area where the body was found.
Mourners hoping to visit graves have been turned away by police, local papers reported.
There’s still some activity from the fire investigators down at the bottom of the cemetery: pic.twitter.com/VrOPz6QdJV
— Hannah Graham (@HannahGraham21) April 28, 2022
One shocked local told Chronicle Live: “I woke up at about 6.10am. I looked out the curtains and saw a fire, it was a small fire. I thought it was kids, as you sometimes get.
“I came downstairs and thought it doesn’t look good. So, I phoned for the fire service. The fire service arrived and put out the fire.
“They put tape around the area then the police arrived at around 6.30am. Then a forensics van arrived.
“It’s not what I expected in the morning.”
Durham Constabulary said in a statement: “Officers were called to reports of a fire in a graveyard in Ushaw Moor at around 6.20am this morning (April 28).
“Sadly a man was found deceased at the scene. Enquiries are ongoing to confirm his identity but officers believe it to be that of a missing man and his family are in the process of being notified.
“It is not believed there are any suspicious circumstances and a file will be prepared for the coroner.
“No graves have been affected.
“The cemetery will be closed for the remainder of today but is expected to reopen tomorrow and we would like to thank the public for their patience.”