TOUCHING floral tributes have been left in Swanage following the discovery of a young woman’s body in the search for Gaia Pope.

The worst fears of an entire community were realised when police searching for the missing teenager discovered a body on Saturday afternoon.

Hundreds of people had come together to search the Swanage area since the 19-year-old disappeared on November 7.

Floral tributes have begun to be left on the Alfred Monument, next to the seafront.

One card said: "Our hopes now replaced with sadness, may you rest in peace Gaia, this town will never forget you xx."

Another added: "For Gaia, we are devastated and want to give your family our love at this time xxx Carole."

“I would like to thank the community for their support and understanding and their efforts in looking for Gaia.”

Prayers are being said for the friends and family of Gaia Pope at St Mary’s Church in Swanage on Sunday night.

Thorough searches continued in Swanage today. 

Although the police presence appeared to have been scaled down, a cordon remained in place and two police cars were stationed near fields off Priests Way.

Markers remain in place in a field where Gaia's clothes were found on Thursday.

Bournemouth Echo:

Picture: Bliss Aviation

The clothing was found more than a week after Gaia disappeared although the fields had been searched on three previous occasions.

The area was searched multiple times by police, coastguards and volunteers in the days after the 19-year-old disappeared on November 7. On each occasion nothing was found.

Dorset Police said they were confident they had found Miss Pope, who has not been seen for 11 days, and said the death was being treated as unexplained.

Police and coastguards first searched a two-mile stretch of cliff top between Anvil Point and Dancing Ledge the day after Gaia went missing.

Dorset coroner Rachael Griffin has been informed of the discovery a body and a post mortem examination will take place in due course.

Police are now continuing their inquiries in a bid to find out what happened to Gaia.

Two men aged 19 and 49 and a 71-year-old woman, all from Swanage and known to Gaia, were arrested on suspicion of murder last week and have been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

Police continue to appeal for information from the public. Anyone who thinks they can held should contact Dorset Police on 101, quoting incident number 18:128 or the free and anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.