A SENIOR police officer has been found dead on a south coast beach.

Inspector Neil Munro's body was found early this morning at the rear of a seafront property.

A gardener is thought to have made the discovery under the jetty attached to the multi-million pound mansion on Panorama Road at Sandbanks, Dorset at around 8.30am.

Police were called by the owners and the house was immediately cordoned off while investigations were carried out.

This morning police said the body was that of a man, believed to be in his 30s, who was in possession of a rucksack. Officers were investigating the possibility he was a walker.

A search was carried out around Poole Harbour for an empty parked car.

Earlier today police had said it was too early to say if the death was being treated as suspicious but it was thought the man had suffered serious head injuries.

Insp Munro had been with Dorset police for 20 years.