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Edinburgh - Police are hunting for the killer of a 6-year-old girl on Scotland's remote Isle of Bute, a rare crime in such a small community.

The body of Alesha MacPhail, who was visiting relatives on the island, was found in woodland near the town of Rothesay early on Monday morning.

Police on Bute, 40 miles (about 65 km) from Glasgow off Britain's northwestern coast, were conducting door-to-door enquiries around the island of 6 500 people and warning residents to lock their doors.

"Our absolute priority is catching the person responsible for this horrendous act as quickly as possible," Detective Superintendent Stuart Houston told reporters.

"Incidents such as this are extremely rare but we are still in the early stages of this investigation and we would ask people to be vigilant about their children and also about their household security. The island community has to pull together at times like this."

Extra officers were brought in from the mainland to hunt for the killer and officers were patrolling 24 hours a day.