A DEAD body was found today at a North East service station.
A shocked lorry driver stumbled over the body at Easington Services on the A19 at around 2.30am.
Police were called and cordoned off the area on the south side of the dual carriageway.
A forensic team are being called in to make a detailed inspection of the parking area where the body was discovered.
It is not yet known if the death is being treated as suspicious or not.
A postmortem will now be carried out.
A Durham Constabulary spokeswoman said: “A body has been found in an open parking area of the Easington Service Station at around 2.30am today.
“The body was found by a lorry driver.
“It is too early to say what has happened.”
Katie Fletcher, 23, of Wingate, County Durham, said: “This morning I was diving to work in Newcastle when I saw three police cars surrounding the entrance to the garage of the Easington Services on the A19. The place was all cordoned off.
“I drive that way all the time. I can't believe a body has been found so close to where I live.
“I don’t know if the police are treating it as suspicious or not. It could be a person who has died in the cold or could have been dumped there in a gangland killing for all we know. I’m sure we will hear how that person has died when police carry out further investigations.
“I know people who work there I hope they are ok.”