A MAN lay dead on his narrowboat for up to five days as his beloved dog guarded his body.

Norman Jervis was found dead in his boat, which was moored by the Big Lock pub, by police last Tuesday after dog walker David Sant alerted officers when he had not seen him for five days.

David, who often saw him along the canal, said: “I often used to stop and have a talk to him, I didn’t see him every day, but quite often if it was nice weather he’d be there and we’d stop and put the world to rights.”

David, of King Street, grew concerned last Friday when he noticed that the stern doors were left open and his stove was not lit despite the cold weather.

He added: “When I went down on Tuesday and there was still no smoke coming from the chimney I thought I’d better investigate, so I shouted and could get no reply.”

David then phoned the police who forced their way onto the narrowboat and found Jack Russell dog Holly guarding her master’s body.

David added: “The dog was guarding him and it bit the policeman because it didn’t want to leave him.”

Police say there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and a file is currently being prepared for the coroner.

Norman, believed to be 63, was a popular figure in Middlewich and could often be seen cycling around the town centre on his electric bike towing a trailer with his dog in the back.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, added: “Everyone knew him in Middlewich, he was very well known in the town – one of the institutions of Middlewich.

“He was a really nice, gentle chap and this has come as quite a shock to a lot of people.”

Norman used to work as a printer and had had his boat moored by the Big Lock pub for the past two years after moving from the canal by Middlewich Narrowboats.

He is believed to have had one son who lives in the Lincoln area and his family have now been informed of his death.

The dog Holly is currently living with David Sant.