RESIDENTS on Portland have paid tribute to a man whose body was found near Chesil Beach.

Police found the body of a man in his 70s on Wednesday evening.

The cause of death is not believed to be suspicious and the coroner is now investigating.

The man was found in a tent near Quiddles Cafe. Police and paramedics were called to the scene at around 7pm.

A spokesman for the Coroner’s Office confirmed a post mortem to determine the man’s cause of death would be carried out on Monday.

It hasn’t been officially confirmed where the man came from but Portland landscaper Gary Hockett claims he wasn’t local. He said: “He’s a Londoner but he was living in Liverpool. He was down here last year.

“Last year he stayed for two and a half months.”

Mr Hockett came to meet the man after regularly cutting the grass banks at West Weares.

He added: “I don’t know his name. I know he used to come down here regularly.

“We were amazed because even when the weather was cold he was still here.

“He was a nice enough old boy. He never said a lot to anybody.

“I used to see him going up to the Co-op every day to get his cigarettes and his milk.

“As far as I’m aware he was homeless.”

Mr Hockett said the man had become known to dog walkers, who became suspicious after noticing no sign of movement near his tent.

He said: “The other morning one of the chaps went down there and found there was no movement at all.

“He found the tent hadn’t been moved or disturbed.”

Mr Hockett claims the walker went back to his house with the intention of returning to the site to investigate further.

Before he could, someone else found the body and alerted the police. Paul McEvilly, who lives in Fortuneswell, witnessed police and paramedics attending the scene. He said: “I had heard a paramedic van was down there.

“There was a police van. I nipped down there to find a collapsed tent on the beach. Police were directing people away from the area.

“There were lots of people speculating at the time what had happened.

“No one wants to hear of anyone passing away like that. It’s terrible news.”