A murder investigation was launched Sunday after the body of a young man was found severely burned and "missing at least one foot" at a seaside golf course in southeastern England.

Forensic experts said the victim was in his late teens or 20s, showed signs of injury, and had a number of tattoos. It is suspected the corpse was at the site for no more than two days, and police said that there were no reports to suggest he was a local man.

Police have yet to identify the victim and have appealed to the public for information.

Forensic scientists have been given a DNA sample in a further bid to identify the body, which was so badly charred that police were initially unable to determine either its sex or approximate age.

The body was found just before noon, local time, Saturday by players walking between the 17th and 18th holes at the Dyke Golf Club, near Devil's Dyke, just north of Brighton.

"We are treating this as a murder, and are fairly certain that the man was brought to the scene having been killed elsewhere," said Detective Chief Inspector Trevor Bowles, who is leading the inquiry.

"I should like to clarify that while the body was missing a foot, we now believe this to have been caused by animal activity after the man's body was dumped."

"The body had been dragged a few feet from the site of the fire and we think this was when the foot went missing."

"Initial forensic examination suggests that the burning took place at the scene and we would like to hear from anyone who may have seen a fire or smoke near to the golf club at any time between Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning."

"From areas of the body not affected so badly by the fire we can see that he was quite heavily tattooed and one tattoo on his shoulder looks like it has been started, but not completed," Bowles added.

An autopsy was due to be performed in Worthing Sunday afternoon.