Page last updated at 10:07 GMT, Tuesday, 17 June 2008 11:07 UK

Fifth human foot found in Canada

map of British Colombia

A human foot has been found on a beach near the west-coast city of Vancouver, Canadian police say.

It is the fifth human foot to wash up on beaches in the area in the past year. The latest find is a left foot, whereas the other four were right feet.

Walkers spotted the body part floating in water off the suburb of Westham Island in British Columbia on Monday.

Police and coroners are trying to identify the foot and discover if it is linked to the others found in the area.

All were wearing shoes and had been in the water for some time.

A police spokesman, PC Sharlene Brooks, said the find was being treated as a criminal investigation.

"We are certainly not discounting the possibility that this may be linked to the other recovered feet, but it is just too premature and very speculative for us to even entertain that right now," PC Brookes said.

She said police might not be able to say for some time whether the foot's DNA matched a known missing person, or any of the feet found previously.

Gruesome finds

The previous discoveries, all right feet, were all wearing running shoes.

Last August, two human feet washed up on the beaches of small islands north of Vancouver. Then in February a third single, right foot drifted ashore.

The fourth foot was discovered on a beach in suburban Vancouver in May.

The city's newspapers and coffee shops are buzzing with theories to explain the mystery, says the BBC's Ian Gunn in Vancouver.

Organised crime, boating accidents - even the 2004 Asian tsunami - are all being offered as possible solutions, our correspondent says.

Police have said there is no evidence that the feet were deliberately severed or removed by force.

Forensic experts say it is not unusual for body parts to become separated after they have been in the water for a long time.

Foot find confuses Canada police
24 May 08 |  Americas

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