Tributes paid to 'nice lad' whose body was found in bin at recycling plant after night out
Tributes have been paid to a man who was found dead at a recycling plant after climbing into a bin at the end of a pre-Christmas night out.
Jay McLaren, 28, of Hadleigh Road in Sunderland, was reported missing by his family on December 23 after he failed to return home following a night out in the city.
Police are not looking for any suspects in connection with the death, although they have appealed for information.
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "The last confirmed sighting of Jay is at 4.15am on Saturday December 23 outside Arizona and Purple bar.
"From here, he is understood to have been taken to the recycling plant after entering a bin that was later collected in the early hours of Saturday.
"Jay's family are being supported by specialist officers and wish to send a message to drinkers and party-goers to stay safe on a night out, particularly as New Year's Eve approaches.
"They're urging people to stay together and keep an eye out for friends."
It is believed Mr McLaren was a keen footballer, was engaged to be married and was the father of a two-year-old girl.
In a tribute on Facebook, Nathan Hudson wrote: "Totally devastated about this.... he was the nicest lad".
Paul Wilkinson added: "Immense midfielder like. Nice lad too."
Anyone who believes they may have seen or spoken to Mr McLaren in the early hours of December 23 is asked to contact police on 101 quoting 1205 231217.
The case bears similarity to that of missing RAF gunner Corrie McKeague, who was believed by Suffolk Police to have climbed into a bin after a night out in Bury St Edmunds in September 2016.
Two lengthy searches of a nearby landfill site failed to find the missing man's body.
Mr McKeague's mother, Nicola Urqhart, said she was confident that if her son was in the landfill, the search team would have found him. She also said she did not believe her son would have climbed into a bin.
Police said the investigation into Mr McKeague's disappearance would remain open.