Two men are being questioned on suspicion of murder after the decapitated body of a man was discovered on a grass verge.
The victim was found after firefighters extinguished a blaze at the scene in Stockport, Greater Manchester, in the early hours of today.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: "Officers were called at 5.10am after fire crews extinguished a blaze on a verge off Wellington Street.
"Police attended and discovered the decapitated body of a man believed to be in his 20s.
"Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder and remain in police custody for questioning."
The man's head was discovered nearby when police attended the scene.
The crime scene in the town centre, near Stockport Magistrates' Court, has been cordoned off as forensic examination takes place.
Earlier, police said the investigation was is in its early stages as they tried to determine the circumstances surrounding the death.
They reassured local residents there were numerous police officers in the area as the probe continued.
Anyone with information should phone police on 0161 856 9755 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
The two suspects, aged 29 and 31, had been arrested on suspicion of possessing shotgun cartridges prior to the discovery of the body, police said.
Inquiries are continuing to determine the identity of the victim, who was found opposite the Gala Casino - and also near the town's police station.
A Home Office post-mortem examination is due to take place later.
Superintendent Pete Matthews, from Greater Manchester Police's Stockport Division, said: "The investigation is in its early stages and we are working to establish the circumstances surrounding this man's death.
"We are conducting house-to-house inquiries and speaking to local residents and have extra officers in the area to offer reassurance and assist with the investigation.
"Obviously members of the community will be shocked to hear about what has happened and I would encourage anybody who has concerns to speak to their local officer.
"I understand there are a lot of rumours regarding this incident and it would be wrong to speculate on what has happened. However, we are keeping an open mind and looking at every line of inquiry."