Page last updated at 18:01 GMT, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 19:01 UK

Children find human head on beach

The body parts were found on a beach in Arbroath
Police have been conducting an examination of the beach

A woman's head, hidden inside a plastic bag, has been found by children playing on a beach in Angus.

A human hand was also discovered about 50 yards away from the head on Seagate beachfront in Arbroath.

Two young sisters made the "grim discovery" at 1030 BST. They ran home and their mother called the police.

A Tayside Police spokeswoman said the force was attempting to identify the woman. It is not known if the body parts were washed up or dumped.

As many as 40 officers were involved in searching the stony beach for evidence.

The body parts were removed from the scene at about 1800 BST.

'Tragic mystery'

The officer leading the investigation said the forensic examinations to follow would be "fairly painstaking".

Det Ch Insp Graham McMillan said recent heavy rains in the area made it difficult to tell how long, if at all, the head had been in the water.

But he said inquiries would be thorough, with investigations continuing into the night.

He said: "We will shortly be conducting a more detailed examination of the body part which will be a fairly painstaking process."

Det Ch Insp McMillan said the children who found the remains were "fairly upset" and were being cared for by their parents at home.

He added that there was no missing person locally that would "fit the criteria we are looking for".

Police cordoned off the beach for further investigations
Police cordoned off the beach for further investigations

The beach is popular with dog walkers and local children, who are on their Easter break.

A local female fish worker said: "When I came to work I saw police standing about and then I heard that a head had been found.

"I watched police examine something on the beach further away and then they came closer and began looking at something else."

Patricia Millar, 54, chairwoman of the Royal Burgh of Arbroath community council, said: "This is the kind of thing you hear about in big cities. I never expected it to happen here.

"My sympathies go out to the two children who made the discovery.

"It must have been terrible to see such a gruesome thing at such a tender age."

Holiday town

Angus MSP Andrew Welsh said he was in "shock" at what had happened, especially because children were involved.

"The sooner this tragic mystery is cleared up, the better," he said.

"This would be a shock in any area of Scotland but especially in Arbroath, which is a family, holiday town.

"It may well be that future body parts are found and all youngsters should be kept away from the beach."

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Forensic officers search the beach

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