Three bodies have been found by British police searching for a missing former EastEnders actress and her family.

Sian Blake, 43, who played Frankie Pierre in the BBC drama, disappeared with her sons Zachary, eight, and four-year-old Amon in east London on 13 December.

Three days later, police interviewed her partner, the children's father Arthur Simpson-Kent, 48, at the family's home in Erith, Kent, and he also disappeared.

Forensic teams were seen searching the property today and neighbours said police had been at the house for several days.

Police said the bodies were found in the garden and a murder inquiry is now under way.

Detectives are searching for Mr Simpson-Kent.

Detective Superintendent Paul Monk said: "Formal identification has yet to take place, it's too early to speculate but of course the family has been told and this is obviously a very difficult time for them.

"Our efforts are continuing to find Arthur Simpson-Kent. Our appeal is to anyone who may know his current whereabouts or can assist us in finding him - we do need to speak to him as a matter of urgency. "

Ms Blake had motor neurone disease and was reportedly looking "very frail" before she went missing.

She and her children were last seen in Waltham Forest, east London, on 13 December, and her silver-beige Renault Scenic was found in Calvert Avenue in Bethnal Green, east London, on 3 January, but it is not known who parked it there.

Yesterday Scotland Yard confirmed that the murder squad had taken over the investigation.