POLICE searching for missing student Megan Roberts have found the body of a woman in the River Ouse south of York.

The body was discovered about 100 metres upstream from the Ship Inn at Acaster Malbis yesterday afternoon.

North Yorkshire Police said they received a call at 3.27pm from a member of the public who was walking in the area.

“Formal identification has not yet been completed, therefore we cannot confirm the identity of the deceased at this stage,” said a spokeswoman. “The family of Megan Roberts have been informed of the discovery.”

Police have been searching for Megan, 20, a York St John university student who is from Wetherby and lived in the Clifton area of York, after she disappeared on Thursday, January 23, at around 2am after a night out with friends in Popworld in George Hudson Street, York.

CCTV showed her leaving the bar, and soon afterwards she was seen near Lendal Bridge. Police have previously said the most probable scenario was that she "entered the river" while "heavily affected by alcohol".

In an earlier interview, Superintendent Phil Cain, describing Megan’s last known movements, stressed there was no evidence to indicate foul play. Instead, he said it was “on balance ... a group of young friends on a night out that is likely to have ended in tragedy”.

The Facebook page, Help Find Megan Roberts, set up in the search to find the 20-year-old, has attracted 8,535 followers, with many friends and strangers posting messages of support to her family.

Last week, days after Megan's mother, Jackie Roberts, asked supporters to light a candle “and think of Megan finding her way home”, marking four weeks since she disappeared, she thanked people for their help after police divers investigated reports of something unusual in the river.

That search on Tuesday was based on river debris which had become visible as the water level lowered, but nothing of significance to the investigation had been found by the time the searches stopped at 4pm, a police spokesman said afterwards.

Ms Roberts has also previously thanked the public and the police for their support, kindness and care during this extremely difficult time.

The final message posted on the Facebook site last Thursday said: “Megan is with us every second of the day in our thoughts and our hearts, we still have so much hope that Megan is OK and we will hear something soon. Thank you so much for the support, shares and likes.”

A woman visiting a cruise boat on the Ouse at Acaster Malbis said yesterday, on hearing news of the discovery of a body: “How very sad. We were wondering why there was all the police activity and we were worried they might have found a body.”