A BODY has been found following a major search for a missing kayaker.

Police were called to Hove seafront in the early hours of this morning to reports of a body found on the beach.

Officers say the body is believed to be that of the missing person.

A Sussex Police spokeswoman said: "Police were called to Hove seafront at 5.30am today to reports of a body found on the beach.

READ MORE>>>Major search launched for missing Hove kayaker

"Formal identification has yet to take place, but the body is believed to be that of a kayaker reported missing on Sunday morning.

The Argus:

"Next of kin have been informed, and the matter has been passed to the coroner's officer."

Coastguard crews were scrambled shortly after 10am on Sunday morning after receiving reports of “a person seen going into the water from a kayak off Hove Lagoon near Brighton”.

An empty kayak and paddle were found on the shore nearby shortly afterwards.

READ MORE>>>Search for missing kayaker suspended at nightfall

Police, Coastguard and lifeboat crews launched a major search operation spanning more than eight hours.

Boats patrolled the shore and the rescue helicopter scoured the area from above as emergency teams attempted to locate the missing kayaker.

The Argus:

The search was suspended as night fell on Sunday.

Speaking to The Argus yesterday afternoon, Coastguard said there were "no further planned searches taking place today".

READ MORE>>>Coastguard say there are 'no further searches taking place' for missing kayaker

A body, believed to be that of the missing kayaker, was found this morning.

Brighton and Hove City Council leader Phélim Mac Cafferty expressed his "deep sadness" at the news.

The Argus:

He said: "This is extremely sad and tragic news, and the thoughts and sympathies of myself and the whole council are with the man’s family and friends.

"I know the rescue services did everything they could to find the person on Sunday after scanning the sea for hours.

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"I am deeply saddened to find this morning that the incident has ended in tragic circumstances."

Cllr Mac Cafferty also called on people using Brighton and Hove's beach to be "extra careful and vigilant" at this time.

The Argus:

He said: "At this time of year, especially on hot days, the sea can look very inviting.

"But we must all remember it can also be extremely dangerous, especially when it’s choppy and the currents are strong.

The Argus:

"It’s so easy for a swimmer, kayaker or stand-up paddleboarder to quickly get out of their depth and lose control of themselves and their equipment.

"Every beach is different, so make a point of reading safety signs, follow our guidelines and be extra cautious, especially in unfamiliar water."