A murder probe has been launched after a 13-year-old boy discovered a skull close to his grandmother's home when he accidentally kicked his ball into a field whilst playing football.

Jack Grant, 13, was visiting his grandmother's house in the Swaithe area of Barnsley when his ball flew into a nearby field while playing football with two friends.

When he went to retrieve the football from the edge of a farmer's cornfield he made the gruesome discovery, and then showed his grandmother who thought it was a dog's skull.

But his grandfather, farmer Charles Medlam, 64, who had been clearing a hedgerow close to the discovery last year, told the family that it was a human skull.

The family then contacted police on Sunday (4 February) before detectives and forensic experts were deployed and a crime scene established, in land off Mitchell's Street.

The bones have been identified as human by a forensic archaeologist and an investigation is currently underway, South Yorkshire Police have said.

Despite police being at the early stages of the investigation they have labelled the find "suspicious" and they believe the person died within the last 20 years.

The force are treating the inquiry as if it was a murder inquiry and an unexplained death, according to Detective Chief Inspector, Martin Tate, who said: "This is not historic and raises massive alarm bells."

He added according to the Daily Mail: "We have got people who have been missing in the area and that is one of our main lines of inquiry".

The constabulary confirmed that they have been contacting families who have missing relatives and will try to compare DNA. Forensics will now try to establish the age, sex and identity, the cause of death and the length of time the bones have been in situ.

Police are believed to looking into several missing persons including that of Edmund 'Neil' Spencer, who went missing from his home in Barnsley in January 2001. Another case officers are looking into is that of murder victim, Thomas Groome, 53, whose body was never found.

In 2016 his partner June Buttle, 56, was jailed for 16 years for his manslaughter and her son Jason Thaxter was jailed for life for his murder.