A POPULAR Big Issue seller was found dead on Christmas Day after failing to pick up his seriously ill six-year-old son.

"Doting father" Andrew Kieser, who sold the magazine outside Topshop on and off for 14 years, was due to collect his little boy on December 23 2019.

The youngster has mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, which saps the energy from his cells and can impact brain function.

When Mr Kieser didn't arrive, his former partner Holly filed a missing persons report with Dorset Police.

The 36-year-old's body was found in Knyveton Road, Bournemouth on December 25.

An inquest into his death was opened and adjourned at the coroner's court in Bournemouth on Wednesday.

It was heard that Mr Kieser, of Park Road in Bournemouth, was found by members of the public.

Coroner Rachael Griffin said police were called after the witnesses saw a man 'asleep' in some bushes. They tried to rouse him, but received no response.

"Officers were aware of a missing person called Andrew Keiser. He had been reported missing the previous day," she said.

A post-mortem was initially inconclusive. However, further tests have given a provisional cause of death as a heroin overdose.

Police say there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding Mr Keiser's death.

He was described by Big Issue staff in Bournemouth as a “polite and kind” person, who was doing his best to address personal issues.

Simon Chilcott, head of service development for The Big Issue in Bournemouth, said Andrew will be greatly missed by staff, volunteers, vendors and his customers.

“Andrew was such a polite and kind individual who will be sadly missed by The Big Issue team, vendors and the many customers he had spoken to over the years," he said.

"These last few years had been especially tough for Andy due to his son’s genetic condition, also his own housing issues.

"He was a doting father who tried his hardest to juggle life so he could spend as much time as possible with his young son.

"We have a lovely volunteer who bakes cakes for the vendors and one of Andy’s guilty pleasures was a slice of cake and a cup of coffee."

In an interview with the Big Issue two years ago, Mr Keiser said he'd struggled with addiction, which had cost him a job, a relationship and a home. His ambition was to spend more time with his son, he said.

Mr Keiser had played piano to Grade Seven as a child. In adulthood, he had performed in church.