Residents' horror as man's body found near Belfast city centre Holiday Inn
Shocked residents watched in horror last night as the body of a man was taken away by police after being discovered on waste ground in Belfast city centre.
The grim find was made yesterday afternoon close to the rear of Holiday Inn on Belfast's Hope Street, near the loyalist Sandy Row area.
Police had cordoned off the area where the body was found, and last night forensics officers in white boiler suits were at the scene.
Police were unable to say last night if the man's death was being treated as suspicious.
The body was discovered by a hotel worker who had gone outside for a smoke, according to locals.
Officers removed the man's remains from the scene, carrying it on a stretcher to an unmarked black van.
Around half a dozen locals watched as officers searched for evidence.
A local woman - who did not want to be named - told the Belfast Telegraph she had heard a commotion on Thursday night, when the PSNI plus three fire engines and two ambulances screeched to a halt outside the hotel.
She saw police searching the waste ground with torches, and then saw one man brought out on a stretcher, and another in handcuffs.
"We heard shouting and saw the police chasing people at the back of the hotel."
It is not known if the incident was in any way related to yesterday's discovery of a body.
The woman said there was a large hole in the ground at the rear of the hotel, describing it as 'a big moat', which was as deep as the height of a two storey house.
She added that local people were in shock that a body had been found.
"God rest him, that was somebody's son," the woman commented as the man's body was taken away.
A Northern Ireland Ambulance Service spokesman confirmed that two males were taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital from the scene after the emergency services were summoned to the waste ground at 11.30pm on Thursday.
One of the men they found there was unconscious, while the other man had facial injuries.
It is believed that a post mortem will be carried out to establish how the man whose body was found last night died.
A PSNI spokesman confirmed last night that a body had been found but was unable to provide more details.
"Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a man whose body was found in the Hope Street area of Belfast this afternoon," he said.
"There are no further details at this time."