The inquest into the death of a pub landlord who vanished after the theft of almost £30,000 from a Christmas collection is due to resume today.

The body of 59-year-old Malcolm Levesconte was found in the sea off Dover, Kent, on Christmas Eve.

Mr Levesconte, landlord of the Royal Oak in Shrewton, near Salisbury, was last seen on December 9 last year boarding a ferry for France after the theft from the Christmas savings club at his pub.

Wiltshire Police said they had been working on the theory that he had been propping up his failing pub business with money from the fund. The death is being treated as non-suspicious.

The inquest was opened and adjourned in Folkestone in January, and heard that Mr Levesconte had to be identified by fingerprints.

A post-mortem examination at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford confirmed his cause of death was drowning.

Rachel Redman, the coroner for central and south east Kent, directed that jurisdiction for a full inquest into his death be passed to a Wiltshire coroner.

Detectives had previously said they were considering the possibility that Mr Levesconte jumped off the ferry after it left Portsmouth.

He had booked a return ticket to St Malo and boarded the ferry. But detectives said he did not get off when it arrived in France.

The inquest is due to resume in Salisbury this morning.