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Body of missing boy, eight, found

Police have confirmed that a body found in a river is that of missing schoolboy Ian Bell.

Ian, eight, fell into the swollen River Wear near Willington, County Durham, on April 27.

Durham Police said the body was recovered downstream from Page Bank Bridge.

A spokesman said: "We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Ian's family at this difficult period. Durham Constabulary would also like to thank all those involved in the search for Ian and ask that the family is left in peace at this very sad time."

The coroner has been informed and an inquest will be held in due course, police confirmed.

Ian, from Sunnybrow, County Durham, was playing with friends when he was swept away.

Search specialists joined police and dozens of members of the public to look for the schoolboy, without success.

A detailed search of the river and its banks has been carried out during the past week downstream past Durham to Chester-le-Street.

At one point officers co-ordinating the search sought the help of a professor who is an expert in rivers and flowing water, with the aim of directing efforts in specific directions.

Contact was also made with colleagues in South Yorkshire Police who had specialist search skills using police dogs.