A BODY has been found by rescuers searching for a fishing boat which went missing off the Devon coast.

The skipper of the 19ft JCK was last seen travelling past Thatcher's Rock, near Torquay, around 6.25pm last night, Monday.

Shortly after midnight a body was discovered by the Exmouth RNLI lifeboat, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency confirmed. Debris - believed to be of the JCK - has been found off the coastline.

A search was launched when the JCK failed to return to Brixham Harbour on Monday evening when gale force winds of 60mph had been reported in the English Channel. Maritime and Coastguard Agency Rescue helicopters from Portland MCA and RNAS Culdrose, RNLI lifeboats, coastguard rescue teams and two Royal Navy frigates - HMS Somerset and HMS St Albans - were involved in the search.

Jeremy Linn from Brixham Coastguard said it was likely the skipper's boat had been swamped.