A BURY man is suspected to have been killed in a shark attack after his hand and wedding ring were found in the animal's stomach.

The 44-year-old, who has not been identified, was last seen snorkelling off the French island of Reunion on Saturday.

It is believed he was on a holiday on the Indian Ocean island with his wife.

His hand was found inside a tiger shark caught for research purposes on Wednesday and later identified by his wife from the ring.

The shark was found just over four miles from where the man had last been seen swimming in Hermitage Lagoon.

A post-mortem examination is yet to be carried out to establish whether he drowned and was eaten by the shark or whether the animal attacked him.

A spokesman for the local search and rescue - the Centre Regional Operationnel de Surveillance et de Sauvetage (Cross) - told the Press Association: "The victim was certainly swimming but it is not clear whether he was attacked or he was already dead when he was eaten.

"One possibility is that he became unwell while in the lagoon and was taken by the currents into deeper water."

No operation is currently ongoing to search for the man's remains and it is thought to be unlikely to find a body with so many sharks in the water.

"If we find a body, it is usually within the first 48 hours of it going missing," the spokesman said.

Two fatal shark attacks have been confirmed in Reunion's waters so far this year.

In January a fisherman died after a shark tore off his leg, and a surfer was killed in May.

Swimming and surfing has been banned in Reunion since the summer of 2013 and is only permitted in the shallow lagoons.

However many surfers flout the rules because of the famous waves.

French President Emmanuel Macron has previously said he would like to reintroduce watersports to Reunion by 2022, but only if he is assured it is safe.

Regular shark culls are carried out in the region and they are also captured for research purposes by the Centre de Securite Requin (CSR).