POLICE have confirmed that the body found at Rowley Park yesterday is that of teenager Declan Edwards.
The body was found by police officers at shortly after 4pm on Thursday in woodland at Rowley Park, Rowley Lane.
The death is not being treated as suspicious, at this stage, and a post mortem examination will be carried out later today to establish the exact cause of death.
A police spokeman said: "Specially trained officers are offering support to Declan’s family and our thoughts remain with them and Declan’s friends at this sad time.
"Police would once again like to thank the local community for all their help and support over the last few days during the searches for Declan."
More than 100 people had met at Burnley Central Library last night to continue to comb any route the Burnley fan might have taken.
But they were told the devastating news that they were no longer needed because a body had been found.
Many burst into tears and were clearly heartbroken by the police announcement.
Last night tributes flooded in for the talented footballer and school prefect, who worked in catering on matchdays at Turf Moor.
On Facebook Donna Duxbury said: “RIP Declan my deepest sympathy to your parents freiends and family.”
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Nicola Giles added: “This is heartbreaking ... That poor Boy.. My heart goes out to his parents and family. No parent should have to go through this. So so sad.”
Jakkie Ashworth said: “RIP Declan. So sad, such a young lad my heart and thoughts are with your family”
On Twitter Declan Ryde said: “What sad sad news. My thoughts are with you and your family Declan. RIPDeclan #RestInPeace.”
Meg said: “RIP Declan, I remember playing with you when we were younger, you were always around. You'll be missed by so many.”
Lil added: “The worst outcome possible, RIP Declan, sleep tight, heavens gained another angel.”
Coun Lian Pate, who represents Brunshaw ward, said the whole community had come together to search for Declan.
She said: “Everyone has been desperate for him to return home safely and this is so sad.
“His name became known by everyone in Brunshaw and I don’t think that we will ever forget him.
“Our thoughts are fully with his family at this difficult time.”
County councillor Dr Misfar Hassan, who represents Burnley Central East division, which covers Brunshaw, said the posters had covered Burnley General Hospital, where he works, over the past two days.
He added: “It is very sad news and my thoughts are clearly with his family.”
Earlier in the day specialist police divers had been searching a lake at Towneley Park as part of the investigation into Declan’s disappearance.
The police helicopter had also scoured the town from the skies and officers from the dog and mounted branch unit were also out helping with the search.
Volunteers had also stepped up their hunt with at least five separate searches taking place across the town.
They had put up posters with Declan’s photograph in a bid to jog the memories of anybody who might have seen him.
Members of the Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue Team also joined in the search.
Declan had last been seen by a friend in Towneley Park as he made his way home from a house party on Sunday around 2pm.
Police said he had been in Worsthorne the night before and then stayed the night with another group of friends at another house in Burnley.
The last confirmed CCTV sighting of him was at 11am on the day he went missing outside the Brickmakers Arms, in Yorkshire Street.
Police are set to continue their investigation today, but had said they were exploring all avenues into Declan’s appearance, including the possibility it was drug-related.
Declan’s mum Mandy had previously posted on Facebook that her son had been upset after his grandmother had taken ill.
She said: “He had not been with his normal friends and some scumbags have been giving him drugs while he has been upset and hurt about his gran.”
HOW THE TRAGEDY UNFOLDED
Saturday: Declan had been at a party in Worsthorne and had stayed at a house in Burnley with a group of friends
11am Sunday: The last confirmed CCTV sighting of Declan outside the Brickmakers Arms in Yorkshire Street
2pm Sunday: He was last seen by a friend in Towneley Park and was thought to be on his way home to Waddington Avenue, Burnley.
Tuesday: Police launch an appeal to find Declan after becoming concerned for his safety and search parties are launched to hunt for the youngster
Wednesday: The Lancashire Telegraph publishes the appeal to find Declan, with mum Mandy thanking the public for their help
Yesterday: Police search teams continue to comb the Burnley area looking for clues about Declan’s disappearance, including divers checking a lake at Towneley Park.
4pm yesterday: The hunt is called off after Declan's body was found at Rowley Park around half a mile from Towneley Park.