DETECTIVES were today trying to identify a man who was found dead on a pathway next to a Hampshire railway station.

Officers say they have so far been unable to establish who he is or exactly how he came to die but are hoping a post mortem being carried out this morning will help shed some light.

They say it is too early to determine whether the man's death will form part of any criminal enquiry and are currently treating it as 'unexplained'.

At least 15 police officers, including plain clothed detectives and British Transport staff, were on the scene at Millbrook railway station yesterday after a member of the public made the gruesome discovery and called 999 around 11.30am.

The entire station was closed to the public, with the footbridge that crosses the busy Millbrook Road West also cordoned off while officers stood guard.

Passers-by could see the heavy police presence including several police vehicles and initially an ambulance at the scene.

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Specialist scenes of crime officers were also drafted in to carry out a full forensic examination of the area yesterday afternoon.

Hampshire's major investigation team are leading the enquiry and say the body was found on a footpath that runs from the outskirts of the city centre all the way to the station.

They said extensive forensic tests were continuing last night in the hope of identifying the man.

The pathway runs parallel to the railway line and is, in part, covered by CCTV cameras and police were last night gathering footage in the hope of piecing together the man's final movements.

Today they appealed for anyone who has used the pathway since Saturday afternoon to come forward as they could hold vital information.

Josh Smith, from Southampton, said he cycled past a man he believed was sleeping next to the footpath at around 4.30pm on Saturday.

He said: “I am a member at Pure Gym by the train station so on the way home I ride through the cut way. About three quarters of the way down there was a guy asleep against a metal railing.

“My guess he was asleep. Obviously I didn't want to distract him so I just rode on.

“I am shocked to hear he was dead, especially if it's the same guy as I saw. It's an uncomfortable feeling maybe being the last person to have seen him.”

Detective Inspector Dave Dilly told the Daily Echo: “Those familiar with the pathway will possibly use it regularly as a quick cut-through connecting the footbridge at Millbrook railway station. I would urge anyone who has done so throughout the weekend to come forward as they could help piece together what happened.

“Forensic work is ongoing to establish the identity of the man and we expect a post mortem to be carried out this morning.”

Anyone who has information is asked to contact detectives at HMIT on 101.