POLICE are growing "increasingly concerned" for a mother's welfare after a baby was discovered dead in woods near Southampton.

The baby boy was found dead on Thursday, March 5, when a retired HGV driver, Michael Dorsett, was walking his dog close to Shore Road in Hythe.

Now officers have revealed, since the baby was found just after 2pm that day, they have been carrying out a number of enquiries in a bid to trace the mother.

Police will be continuing to carry out enquiries throughout the weekend and residents will see officers in the area.

Appealing to the mother, director of Midwifery at University Hospital Southampton, Suzanne Cunningham, said: “This will undoubtedly have been a very distressing time for you and it is vitally important you seek medical assistance.

“I would urge you to please make contact with someone who can help you.

“You may not want to call the police, but please speak to someone – be that a healthcare professional, a GP or by attending a hospital."

She added: "Both they and we want to help you.

“You may be concerned about a friend or relative, they may not have been acting their normal self or look their normal self.

“If you have concerns about someone who you know has recently been heavily pregnant or believe may have been, I would urge you to get in touch.

“Your call could be vitally important for the welfare of the mother of this baby boy.”

Inspector Helen Andrews added: “Our priority remains ensuring the welfare of the mother of this boy.

“We can now say that we believe the boy was born either full-term or close to full-term and he is believed to be white.

“Our officers have been carrying out house-to-house enquiries today and will be in the area through the weekend.

“If you have any concerns, please approach them and they will be happy to speak with you.”

Residents are also being told to not hesitate in approaching an officer if they have any concerns.

Anyone with information can call 101, quoting Operation Verse or the reference number 44200084127.

Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or you can submit a report using our online portal https://mipp.police.uk/operation/44HC20W03-PO1.