SEVERAL police cars attended Accrington Cemetery this afternoon and a forensic tent was set up in the grounds.

One entrance and a large section of the graveyard in Burnley Road were sealed off with tape.

Dozens of officers were seen in the cemetery grounds as they investigated a possible discovery.

The arrival of the large police presence and forensic team at the cemetery follows an extensive search for Accrington mum-of-two Lindsay Birbeck who went missing from her home on nearby Burnley Road around 4pm on August 12.

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The 47-year-old teaching assistant was last seen shortly afterwards walking towards Accrington town centre but has not been sighted since.

Large teams of officers were seen combing the graveyard earlier today and by mid-afternoon a dozen police vehicles including forensic and scientific support vans were at the cemetery and the white tent had been put up.Two officers were seen carrying a bag away from the forensic tent around 3.30pm.

Although the public could still enter the graveyard, large sections had been cordoned off with tape and guarded with officers.

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 One visitor Malcolm Taylor, 71, from Rishton was on his weekly trip to tend family graves.

He said: "Every day this week I have seen police officers sweeping up and down the cemetery in a line.

"They appeared to be looking at graves and searching for someone.

"I've seen police again today. I am just shocked by what is happening."

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John Matthews, aged 48 from Huncoat said: "I've seen a load of police cars and vans at the cemetery and they have been at the Coppice as well during the week looking round there.

"It's disturbing what's happened and I'm very shocked."

A police spokesman said: "Police were called at shortly before 8pm yesterday evening  to a report by a member of the public of an unidentified object in an area of Accrington Cemetery, Burnley Road.

"Officers attended the scene and there is a concern this could be the body of a person. An examination of the scene is on-going but at this stage it is too early to say exactly what the object is or how long it may have been there.

"The family of missing teaching assistant Lindsay Birbeck have been visited and informed of the development but at this early stage it is too soon to say if the find is linked to her disappearance and we would urge people not to speculate on social media as this could cause the family additional distress."