An investigation is continuing after the body of a man was found washed up on Brighton beach.

Part of the beach near the Volk’s Railway and Duke’s Mound was cordoned off yesterday after the man was found by a member of the public at 9.25am.

Sussex Police said last night it was too early to tell how he died or how long he had been in the water.

The grim discovery was made as holidaymakers flocked to the city for the last weekend of the summer holidays.

Witnesses are believed to have seen a man’s hand and head among the pebbles as specialist police search teams and Shoreham Coastguard moved in to recover the corpse.

But a spokesman for Sussex Police last night could not confirm whether the man had been buried in the shingle or floating in the surf when he was found.

A cordon was set up around the scene as emergency services worked to recover the body before the fast-approaching tide came in.

The body was taken away by the coroner at around 12.30pm – an hour and a half before high tide. One beachgoer, who did not wish to be named, said: “It is awful to hear about this. We are just here for the day and you do not expect it – such a terrible thing.”

Workers at seafront businesses reported seeing a strong police presence on the beach.

A police spokesman said that while they did not know how long he had been in the water “no special measures” had to be taken to remove meaning he is thought to have only been in the water a short period of time.

Shoreham Coastguard said they sent a response team to assist police and a spokesman added that the matter was now being left for the police to investigate.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “The body was found at the start of the Volks Railway at 9.25am by a member of the public.

“Police officers and the coroner’s officers are working to establish the circumstances of how the body came to be there.

“The body is that of a man and there is no suggestion of his age.”

He added that it was too early to tell if his death was suspicious.

Investigators are looking through missing persons reports to see if the man can be identified and it is hoped that a post mortem examination due to be conducted this week will reveal how and why he died.