Police have confirmed that the body found in the River Foss on Friday is missing music store employee Ben Clarkson.

The 22-year-old from Heworth Green had not been seen since shortly after he left Fibbers nightclub in the early hours of Sunday March 2.

His friends called off their search for him after the discovery on Foss Bank near Sainsbury's, fearing the worst.

Just before 5pm today, North Yorkshire Police put out a statement saying: "The body found in the River Foss in York on Friday 21 March 2014, has been formally identified as that of missing man Ben Clarkson."

His family have asked for time to mourn him in private.

His girlfriend Rachel Peatfield, 22, said after the discovery: "On behalf of myself and Ben's family we would like to thank the public and media for their on going support in our search for Ben. Unfortunately, this has come to a tragic end which we all are struggling to deal with so we would appreciate some privacy and respect at this difficult time.

"Ben was a wonderful character who was so kind and gentle and brought joy to many people's lives and touched the hearts of everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him. I am truly heartbroken that I have lost the love of my life and I will treasure the fond memories we have made over the past 11 years dearly.

"Ben was an amazing partner, son, grandson, brother and uncle and no one will ever replace him. Thank you."

Ben, a former student at York St John University, came to York from Leeds and worked at a music store.  He was last seen at 3.40am on Layerthorpe on March 2 after leaving Fibbers.  He was due at work later that day, but never arrived.

One route to his home in Heworth Green was close to the River Foss.  Police searches quickly centred on the river, but without success. 

Friends and relatives joined in the search, handing out leaflets and giving posters to local businesses, many of which displayed them in their shop windows.

This week, the search returned to the River Foss, where it ended.