A BODY has been found in a canal and is believed to be that of a woman who was reported missing over the weekend.

A body has been found in the Leeds Liverpool Canal this afternoon by Lancashire Police — thought to be that of the missing 51-year-old woman, Christine Clarke.

This weekend, police launched an 'extensive' search operation to find Ms Clarke who was last seen early Saturday morning at around 5.30am on the A6, near Frederick's Ice Cream in Bolton Road.

Staff at Frederick's Ice Cream have been left shaken by the news tonight, saying Ms Clarke was a regular face at the shop.

Formal identification has not yet been carried out, but police say they believe the recovered body to be that of Ms Clarke's and that her family have been informed of the discovery.

The police are now preparing information to be dealt with by a coroner and have said that they are not treating the death as suspicious.

Lancashire Police said in a statement: "Police searching for missing Christine Clarke have found a body.

Chorley Citizen: Canal behind Frederick's. Picture by Phil Taylor.Canal behind Frederick's. Picture by Phil Taylor.

"Christine, 51, from Chorley, was last seen at around 5:30am on Saturday morning on the A6 near to Frederick’s Ice Cream.

"Following extensive searches officers have this afternoon (Sunday, November 10th) recovered a body from the Leeds Liverpool Canal close to Frederick’s.

"While formal identification has yet to be carried out, it is believed to be Christine. Her family have been informed and our thoughts are with them at this incredibly difficult time."

Chorley Citizen:

Earlier this weekend, the police put out a public appeal to help find Ms Clarke, with people coming forward to share information which might help track her down.

Lancashire Police added: "Thanks to everyone who responded to our appeal to find Christine.

"Her death is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be passed to the HM Coroner in due course."