Fears that a serial killer may be on the prowl in Manchester have been raised over the "alarming" number of bodies found in canals.

According to one professor of psychology, the 61 bodies pulled from the waterways over the last six years is too high to be attributed to suicide alone.

Craig Jackson of Birmingham City University, said it indicates an active serial killer may be at work.

"It is extremely unlikely that such an alarming number of bodies found in the canals is the result of accidents or suicides" Jackson told the Star on Sunday.

"Canals are not popular suicide spots, especially for men. They are, however, popular dumping sites. And water can be a sure way to erase DNA evidence. Suffolk strangler Steve Wright dumped some of his prostitute victims in water so any traces of him would be washed away."

Jackson's claim has been dismissed as fanciful by Greater Manchester Police.

"None of our investigations are carried out in isolation and as we have said publicly before, we have established no link between the various incidents recorded," a police spokesman said.