A young exchange student was found hanging from a tree by horrified allotment holders, three days after he was reported missing to police.

The 17-year-old was discovered yesterday morning near the Daws Lane Allotments, in Hartley Close, Mill Hill.

A group of five allotment committee members were carrying out a survey with two female council officers when they made the tragic discovery shortly before 11.20am.

It is thought the boy is from Switzerland and was staying with a family in the area as part of a school exchange trip.

Police have not formally identified the teenager but confirmed a boy was reported missing to them on Monday.

Officers were forced to cut through a wire fence to reach the victim, who was spotted on waste land between the allotments and the busy A41 Watford Way.

The council workers were the first to make the discovery and were reportedly left traumatised by the experience.

Everyone at the scene was checked over for shock by paramedics while the London Fire Brigade was called in to assist police.

Allotment committee chairman Selwyn Eagle said: “It is so tragic because he was so young.

“The lasting thing for me was just how sad it is for a young life to go like that – it just seems so lonely there.”

Barnet Police said a post mortem would be carried out in due course. It is not yet clear if the boy’s next of kin have been informed.