Tributes have poured in for a homeless man whose body was found in a popular High Wycombe park last week.

The body of 46-year-old Mohammed Sarfraz Akhtar was pulled out of The Dyke, at The Rye, in London Road, on February 21.

Shafat Ali, secretary of the Wycombe Islamic Mission and Mosque Trust, told the Bucks Free Press he knew Mr Akhtar as he regularly prayed at the Jubilee Road and Castlefield mosques.

He said: “I knew him very well. In fact I saw him just a week before he died.

“We used to go to the mosque to study together when we were younger.

“The whole community knew him from the mosque and were very, very upset to learn about his death.”

Mr Akhtar is understood to have been homeless, although coroners confirmed his address as Chairborough Road, in High Wycombe, which is believed to be his family home.

Police were called out to the park at 8.17am and emergency services were at the water’s edge for a number of hours.

A large part of the park, including The Dyke and nearby children’s play area, was cordoned off.

Mr Ali said Mr Akhtar’s wake drew crowds of hundreds, adding that he had “never seen anything like it” except for after Ramadan.

He said: “The mosque was packed for his funeral prayers. 

“As a person he was quiet and wouldn’t talk to people much. He just came in to pray. He prayed a lot – usually once or twice a day.

“He was homeless and used to come to the mosque to eat.

“About a month ago he wanted to sleep in the mosque but we had to tell him he couldn’t due to health and safety.

“He had a difficult time in his life. He did not live with his family.”

Mr Ali told the Free Press Mr Akhtar’s body had been taken to Pakistan to be buried.

Wycombe district councillor for Oakridge and Castlefield Sebert Graham said: “I am very sorry to hear about this.

“It is always sad to hear when people pass away in such tragic circumstances. 

“My sympathies go out to his family because I know there will be concerns about the way he died.”

Police said Mr Akhtar’s tragic death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious.

His death is the third at The Rye in as many years.