Murder detectives have arrested the owner of the flat from where they dug up a body which had been buried in the garden for nearly 20 years.

Roy Heath, 52, was taken to custody and then bailed on Tuesday night, after detectives had swooped on his home in Alderville Road to begin their search for human remains after being tipped-off by a member of the public.

And there were two further arrests on Wednesday night - another 52-year-old man and 47-year-old man - after police had found the body buried beneath the patio and wrapped in carpet. The two men are still in custody in a central London police station, as police look to confirm the gender of the corpse. There will be a post-mortem on Friday.

Heath, who suffers from cancer, was reportedly close to the Kray twins, who ruled London's gangland in the 1960s.

Police were tipped-off on Tuesday that the body had been buried at the property since the early 1990s.

Archaeological teams were brought in to help with the search and covered the patio with a tent.

Officers remain at the scene and are examining the remains to try to establish the victim's identity.

Neighbours living behind the terraced house, made up of two flats, are shocked by what has happened.

Will Rollo, a self-employed home cinema installer who lives directly behind the property in Linver Road , said he had been asked by officers if he had lived in the area for at least 15 years.

"I have only been living here for five years, but they said they had had a tip-off the body had been there for 15 years," he said.

Mr Rollo, 31, said Mr Heath lived in the flat with a woman, believed to be his wife, and a young child.

"His wife told me last year he was suffering from cancer. I'm not sure if they are tenants or whether they own the flat."

Another neighbour, an interior designer who only wanted to be known as Georgina, said: "I have lived here for a long time and nothing like this has ever happened before. I don't know the people who live there, I think if you're living in London you tend to keep yourself to yourself."

Anyone with information is asked to call the incident room on 020 7321 9251 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.