DETECTIVES were today trying to piece together the last hours of the life of a man whose body was discovered in an alleyway at Eastleigh by a three-year-old girl.

A Home Office pathologist was expected to conduct a post mortem later this afternoon.

Meanwhile police have launched an investigation code named Operation Pentagon.

Officers were called to an alleyway off Beaulieu Road just before 1pm yesterday after the body of a white middle aged man was found by a group of young girls who were playing in the area.

The man, believed to be in his mid-30s,was found lying on the fenced off pathway and runs behind The Quadrangle.

Police are particularly interested to hear from anyone who was in the general area between Beaulieu Road on one side of the railway line and Archers Road on the other, sometime between 6am and 1pm on Sunday morning.

Detective Chief Inspector Derek Stubbington, who is leading the investigation, said: "We would like to reassure members of the Eastleigh community that until the cause of this man's death is known from the post mortem, it is being treated as unexplained' and we are keeping an open mind.

"We would however appeal to anyone who was in the area during the times stated to contact us, as they may well hold information that could be vital to our enquiry."

The discovery of the body has stunned the closely knit community.

Neighbours living nearby said a three-year-old was playing with three other girls aged eight, nine and 11-years-old when she discovered the man who was casually dressed wearing jeans and a jacket.

Immediately afterwards the children stopped a woman walking over the footbridge who went with another women living nearby and her 28-year-old son to check whether there was a body.

It was then that they called the police and the area became the centre of a major police inquiry.

One of the women, a 50-year-old school dinner lady said: "It was a shock for the young girls."

Police immediately cordoned off the footbridge over the railway line between Archers Road and Beaulieu Road.

Scenes of crime officers carried out fingertip search of the area and took photographs of the scene.

Police have not released the identity of the man who has yet to be formally identified.

Anyone with information should contact the Operation Pentagon team on 084504545.