TRIBUTUES have been paid to a man whose body was found handcuffed in a Southampton river.

The 22-year-old man, who has been named locally as Reece Hillier, was found in the River Itchen on Sunday evening. It is understood his family has been informed.

Yesterday the force confirmed that the dead man had been detained by police in Southampton on January 12.

A spokesman for Hampshire police said an internal investigation into the matter has been launched.

Bunches of flowers were left at Riverside Park yesterday and friends have taken to social media to pay tribute to Mr Hillier.

In their on-line comments Reece was said to be much-loved and one described him as a "funny lad".

As previously reported, the body was found shortly before 7pm on Sunday and the park was cordoned off.

A police spokesman said: "We were called at 6.19pm on Sunday 17 March, after the body of a man was located in the River Itchen at Woodmill, Southampton.

"Identification has now taken place and we can confirm that the body is of a 22-year-old man from Southampton.

"We can confirm that he was handcuffed, having been detained by police in Southampton on 12 January.

"Initial enquiries suggest the body had been in the water for some time.

"The death is not being treated as suspicious at this time.

"An internal review is ongoing and a file is being prepared for the coroner."

It is understood an appeal to help find the man after he went missing was not sent out to the media.

Hampshire police were unable to give further details and when asked how long the body had been in the river and why the man was arrested in January, the force said it would not be making any further comments as an internal review was ongoing.

A spokesman for the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said: "The IOPC received a referral from Hampshire Police following the discovery of a body on Sunday 17 March. Following an assessment it was decided that Hampshire Constabulary should conduct a local investigation."