The Foreign Office is investigating reports that three people have been found shot dead in a British-registered car in the French Alps.

The bodies were discovered in a BMW in a car park near a forest in Haute-Savoie on Wednesday afternoon. French authorities said that two other people, including a young girl, had also died.

The girl was found alive, suffering from bullet wounds, on a forest road near the village of Chevaline but later died in hospital, according to French reports.

The body of a cyclist, also thought to have been shot dead, was lying nearby. All of the bodies had been found by another cyclist. The identity of those involved is not yet known.

A Foreign Office spokesman: "We are aware of the reports of the shooting and we are looking into these urgently."

The website of local newspaper Le Dauphine Libere said the bodies were found near Lake Annecy. According to the official website of the lake, a popular tourist destination, it is known as the "little Venice of the Alps" and is a centre for swimming and watersports.

The occupants of the car were a man, in the front seat, and two women, sitting in the back seats. Sixty police officers are on the scene investigating the deaths, according to the newspaper.

The passing cyclist who found the bodies was in a state of shock and has been speaking to police, they added.

A large number of bullet cartridges were found at the scene, which has now been sealed off while investigations continue.