Body found in search for missing North Tyneside man James Prout
A body has been found in the search for a missing North Tyneside man who had not been seen by family and friends for more than a month.
Officers looking for James Prout made the discovery a short distance from his home on St Stephen's Way in Percy Main.
Five people who knew the 43-year-old - two men and three women - remain in police custody having been arrested on suspicion of his murder.
Mr Prout was reported missing on Good Friday but it emerged he had not been seen for weeks.
The body has not been formally identified but police said they believe it is Mr Prout, and have informed his family.
A major search of properties and open land near Mr Prout's home in North Tyneside was undertaken after Northumbria Police were called to a violent incident at an address in the street at about 8am on Good Friday.
As a result, police initially issued an appeal for information over the whereabouts of Mr Prout and his ex-partner Anne Corbett, 25.
Ms Corbett was found safe in the Durham area on Saturday.
The body was found on Easter Sunday at around 3.30pm, just hours after police had launched a murder inquiry into Mr Prout's disappearance.
Police said men aged 26 and 42 and women aged 55, 49 and 25 who were arrested on suspicion of murder and came from Mr Prout's "circle of friends" remain in custody.
Superintendent Peter Bent said: "Our officers have been speaking to a number of people and searches have been conducted on St Stephen's Way and in the area surrounding it.
"As a result of those searches police have found a body a short distance from his home address. Formal identification is yet to take place but we are fairly certain that it is James Prout."
Mr Bent sought to reassure the local community, describing it as an "isolated incident between people who were known to each other" and appealed for anyone with information to come forward.