The city’s political leaders have expressed their shock and sorrow after a baby’s remains were discovered in a wooded area.

Remains of the child were found close to the area in Brighton where runaway couple Constance Marten and Mark Gordon were arrested on Monday.

Around 200 police officers from both Sussex Police and the Metropolitan Police searched a vast area trying to find the couple’s two-month-old baby before making the tragic discovery.

Council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty said he and the rest of the city had “hoped against all hope this wouldn’t be the news”.

He said: “Like many across the city, I’m profoundly shocked and heartbroken that a baby’s remains have been found.

“I know people locally and nationally has been following this investigation with great concern.

“However, at this stage, it’s vital that we allow the police to continue their investigation, which is expected to continue for some time.”

Cllr Mac Cafferty also said that people should not speculate further on events that may have led to the death of the child.

MP Caroline Lucas, who represents the Hollingbury area where the couple were arrested and the baby’s remains found, also expressed her sadness at the news.

The MP for Brighton Pavilion said: “It’s desperately sad news to hear that the body of a baby has been found here in Brighton.

“The police must now be allowed to carry out their investigation so we can get to the bottom of this tragic case.”

In a police press conference, investigators said that they believe the baby “may have been dead for some time” before it was discovered in a wooded area of the city.

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon remain in custody, with a post-mortem of the baby’s remains yet to take place.

Sussex Police have confirmed that the investigation has entered “a new phase” and said the large police prescence seen for the search will be scaled back.

Neighbourhood officers will continue to remain in the local area to provide support to residents.