POLICE have said they believe a body found in woods in Leyland is that of missing 16-year-old Anthony Stubbs.
Officers made the grim discovery in Brickfield Woods, close to Worden Playing Fields at 1.45pm on Monday.
The teenager was last seen on November 25 when he left his Leyland home to visit his mother’s house on nearby Southbrook Road.
The last confirmed sighting of the teenager was near the Seven Stars public house at 12.55pm on that day.
Anthony had a four-month-old daughter, Lily, with girlfriend Charlotte Mason.
Miss Mason had tearfully appealed for her boyfriend to return at an emotional press conference on New Year’s Eve.
A police spokesman said: “We can confirm that at 1.45pm on Monday, the body of a boy was found in an area of Brickfield Wood, next to Worden Playing Fields at Leyland.
“The body was found by Lancashire Constabulary officers involved in the search for missing Anthony Stubbs.
“While formal identification has yet to be carried out, the body is believed to be that of Anthony.
“The death is not being treated as suspicious at this stage although a post mortem examination will be carried out to establish the exact cause of death.
“Our thoughts are with Anthony’s family and friends at this tragic time.”
Police added that the family had been informed and specially trained officers were supporting them.
During their plea for information about Anthony, Miss Mason was joined by daughter Lily and his mother Denise Machin.
Lily was born just over two months before Anthony’s disappearance.
At the press appeal, she said: “Anthony was so proud when Lily arrived, he is a great dad and I just want him to come home and give her a cuddle; Lily’s missing her daddy.”
The coroner’s office has been informed of the death and an inquest is expected to be opened shortly.