POLICE today hope to formally identify a body found on North Yorkshire moorland during the search for missing pensioner Barbara Colling.

Mrs Colling, 68, from Helmsley, went missing on Monday, January 28, sparking a huge search effort supported by hundreds of volunteers in the area around the town.

North Yorkshire Police confirmed that a body had been discovered by a member of the public on Hawnby Moor, in the North York Moors National Park, at about 10.45am yesterday.

The person who made the discovery, who was not part of a search party, alerted the force. The body has yet to be formally identified, but Mrs Colling’s family have been informed and the search has been stood down.

Last weekend, search and rescue teams from across the north-east of England helped scour the area around Helmsley and the North York Moors for the missing pensioner, who suffered from dementia and was last seen walking along the B1257 at Abbotts Hag.

House-to-house inquiries were carried out and outbuildings searched, while an appeal was made for a witness who may have exchanged waves with Mrs Colling when he drove past her to come forward, but police had said in recent days that there was “very little chance” of finding her alive.

Insp Andy Everitt, of the Malton Safer Neighbourhood Team, who has been leading the search, said yesterday: “I would like to thank everybody who has helped in the search for Barbara Colling over the last two weeks. Their assistance has been fantastic and greatly appreciated.”

As we reported on Monday, Mrs Colling’s daughter, Lizzy Firmin, thanked those who took part in the search for their “overwhelming support”.