The elderly man missing from Rangiora in North Canterbury has been found deceased in a forested area this morning, police say.

The body of William Crowe, known as Bill, was found in an area of Woodend Beach.

The 70-year-old had been missing since early Thursday afternoon and police and his family had held grave concerns for him.

Police had asked for sightings of Crowe's car but that was also found this morning.

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There were no other details released and police said the matter had been referred to the Coroner.

Together with Crowe's family, understood to include his wife and at least three adult children, the police thanked people who had helped in the search to find the missing man.