Regan Schoultz is an NZME news service reporter based in Auckland.

Rural Canterbury body found 'suspicious'

Police have been told of a body on farmland in Christchurch. Photo / File
Police have been told of a body on farmland in Christchurch. Photo / File

Police are treating the discovery of a body in rural Canterbury as suspicious.

Canterbury Police said the body was located on Drain Rd, Doyleston, south of Christchurch, earlier today.

A group of Filipino fishermen found the body about 11.30am, Fairfax reported.

Cellphone issues meant the group drove to Christchurch to report the discovery.

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A police cordon has been set up on Drain Rd where it intersects with The Lake Rd. Several police units are at the scene. Police are now treating the incident as a crime scene and tents have been erected within the cordon.

Detective Inspector Tom Fitzgerald said an investigation team was at the scene and would work through the night.

He confirmed the death was being treated as suspicious. More information would be released tomorrow.

"We have got a lot more work to do before we have got much else to [release]. It is very early days."

The cordoned intersection is a short distance from Lake Ellesmere.

Local resident Graham Fergus said he was first alerted to the incident when he saw several police vehicles down the road.

"We saw all the police cars down there. We don't know what happened but there were a lot of police down there."

He said the lake was popular for fishing.

"They had had a bit of trouble with [people] over fishing down there and catching too much fish so whether that is related to it, I don't know."

A resident on The Lake Rd said the incident was "quite shocking".

Several other residents on Drain Rd were unaware of the incident but were shocked to learn a body had been found in the area.

A local resident said the police cordon was located towards the lake end of Drain Rd.

"Part of the road that is cordoned off, it goes onto a shingle road towards the lake front and it really goes to nowhere except the lake."

The woman said she had gone for a drive to try to find out more about what had happened after she learned that a body had been found.

"I thought it was a bit weird so I thought I would go and have a look so I drove down. I don't actually know what happened.. the road was cordoned off and there were quite a few police across the road to stop people from entering."

At that stage there were several police at the cordon, she said.

The woman said she had lived in the area most of her life and the area was home to many dairy farmers.

"If it is foul play then [I do find it shocking]. Post earthquake there have been a lot of people who have come out to this area.. and not people who would normally live here.

"There are just a lot of people out here who just aren't typical of what we used to have in our country town."

The body is yet to be identified.

Police have asked for anyone with any information that could assist with the identification of the person to come forward.

Anyone with information that could help identify the person was asked to call Christchurch police on 03 363 7400.

Information could also be provided anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

- NZ Herald

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