THE body of a man was found on the beach at Christchurch this morning.

The discovery was made at Friars Cliff, on a stretch of beach beneath Avon Run Road.

Police and paramedics were called to the scene at 6.35am by a passer-by. Crime scene investigators later arrived at the beach, and a forensics tent was set up over the area where the body was found.

Officers investigating the man's death initially said it was being treated as 'unexplained'.

Dorset Police has since confirmed his death is not believed to be suspicious.

"At 6.35am on Tuesday Dorset Police was informed by the ambulance service that a body of a man had been found on the beach near the groyne at Friars Cliff in Christchurch," a force spokesperson said.

"At this time the man’s death is not being treated as suspicious and officers are carrying out enquiries on behalf of the coroner, who has been informed.

"The man’s next of kin are yet to be notified."

Police will not confirm the man's age until his next of kin have been informed.

Around 200 yards of the beach and promenade was cordoned off between the steps near The Beach Hut café and a pathway leading down to the beach from Avon Run Road.

Several police vehicles, including the CSI van, were parked along the road.

A stretch of pavement along Avon Run Road was also taped off by police, with an officer stood at the cordon who was dealing with enquiries from passers-by.

Dozens of residents, dog-walkers and joggers who frequent the beach were commenting on the police activity below.

One Avon Run Road resident told the Echo it was not the first time a body had been found on the beach, but it was the first time they had seen crime scene investigators at the scene after the discovery of a body.

Another resident, John Deadman, said he noticed ambulances and police vehicles arriving at around 6.30am.

"I had just walked the dog and was making a cup of tea when the next thing I knew police and paramedics were turning up.

"I went over to take a look and saw the paramedics attending to a body on the beach," he said.

"Police came to my door to take a statement and asked if I had seen or heard anything but it was very quiet this morning and during the night.

"In the 26 years I've lived here, I've known bodies to be washed up from the sea, but nothing like this with forensics investigating. It's very unusual."

Another couple who live along the road said they had also not heard or seen anything unusual prior to the body being found. 

Commenting on the incident, Mudeford ward councillor Paul Hilliard said: “I spoke to the police at the scene and they have said there is nothing for residents to be concerned about.”

He added: “Obviously whatever has happened is very sad and our thoughts are with those affected.”