St Mary the Virgin church in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
Police are searching the grounds at St Mary's Church, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire after a dog owner found what appears to be a human ear.

Police have launched an investigation after a dog walker found a severed human ear in a Buckingham church graveyard.

The grounds of St Mary the Virgin Church in St Mary's Square, Aylesbury, were cordoned off by officers following the gruesome discovery.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: "Police were called at 18:37 BST by a man who was walking his dog and discovered what he believed may be a human ear.

"Investigations are currently ongoing by police and a scene watch was in place this morning, but has now been lifted."

The ear has been sent to a Home Office pathologist for analysis to determine whether the body part is "current rather than historic". Results are expected next week.

Residents of the town have been left shocked by the strange occurrence.

Rev Shane Wood, who has been rector at the church for seven years, said the last burial in the graveyard was 100 years ago.

"It's not a normal thing and it's rarely seen, if ever, in this sort of town " he said.

"You would normally associated body parts with the fictional Midsomer Murders."

He added: "There are questions in the community as to what has happened and people will be looking for answers from the police as their investigation continues."