VILLAGERS have spoken of their shock after a body was found in a burned out vehicle at a Hampshire beauty spot.

The emergency services were called to an isolated car park in the New Forest after the body of a man was discovered in the charred remains of a car.

A post-mortem examination will be carried out in the next few days to establish the cause of death and an inquest will be held.

But police officers investigating the incident at Burbush car park in Burley Road, Burley, said it was not being treated as suspicious.

A passer-by said: “There was a lot of police activity at the scene, with three or four vehicles and people in forensic suits.

“The vehicle had been burning for some considerable time, probably since the early hours.

“I’m surprised no-one spotted it. The nearest house is about a quarter of a mile away and there are a lot of trees in between but the car was visible from the road.”

The car park was sealed off just before 7am yesterday after a member of the public raised the alarm.

A police spokesman confirmed that the man’s relatives had been told but said the formal identification process was expected to take some time.

Last night the chairman of Burley Parish Council, Philip Daubeney, described the incident as “awful” and “dreadful”.

Fellow parish councillor Neal Martin added: “People are horrified. The car park is very popular with walkers and cyclists, including couples with young children, and what’s happened is very upsetting.

“We’ve just seen a lorry go past with a Clio-sized car on the back.

“We don’t know if the person who died was local or not. It could just have been someone who was looking for a remote spot.”

A trader in the village also spoke of his shock following the discovery. He added: “Two or three people have come in saying they’ve seen police cars and asking me if I know what’s going on.”

A Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman declined to comment, saying all enquiries were being referred to the police.