A GRIEVING mother has thanked those who helped look for her missing son after his body was found at the weekend.

Mark Barnes, 36, was found by a member of the public in woods near Bullwood Approach, Hockley, on Saturday morning.

He was last seen by a neighbour on December 29 in the garden of his Norwich Avenue home in Southend.

Officers are not treating his death as suspicious.

His mum Linda, 58, said: “I’m keeping everything together, but obviously the family misses Mark very much and are very saddened by what has happened.

“I want to thank everyone who was looking for him, especially the police, and everyone who tweeted and posted on Facebook. I also want to thank everyone for their messages of sympathy and condolence.”

Mr Barnes, who lived with his mother Linda, had been minding the house while the family were on holiday, but was not in when they returned on December 30.

Linda said she believed her son, a sales assistant at Waitrose in Fossets Way, had a lot on his mind when he fled.