POLICE have launched an investigation after a decomposed body was found in woodland near Raikes Lane.

Officers were called to an area behind an industrial unit in Raikes Clough, Burnden, at 5.40pm on Thursday.

Bolton Mountain Rescue Team were also put on standby — and volunteers prepared a search and rescue boat as the area is close to the River Croal. Police found the body at about 8pm.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said the body had been there for some time and they had not yet been able to establish an identity.

People close to the scene reacted with shock on hearing the news yesterday.

Wendy Bogart, aged 48, of Fortune Street, Bolton, said: “I’ve lived here for about 13 years and this is the first incident of its kind I’ve ever heard about round here.”

Dog walker Carol Taylor, aged 40, of Moses Gate, said: “It’s so scary that something like this could happen. We don’t see many people round here, so for something like this to happen is a shock.”

A police spokesman said: “Just before 5.40pm on Thursday, police were called to a wooded area near Manchester Road, Bolton, following reports of the discovery of a body. Officers attended and found a body in a state of decomposition.

“Inquiries are now ongoing to determine the identity of the person and the circumstances surrounding their death.”

Tests have now revealed that the dead body was a woman and police have released pictures of some of her possessions in a bid to identify her and trace her final movements.