Residents on Oxspring Bank awoke on Friday morning to find police on their street after officers had been sent to nearby Oxspring Lake, after concerns had been raised for a man at the site last night.
He was taken to hospital, but died there later. A 33-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder.
Police have released few details of the incident and an investigation is continuing today.
Yesterday one resident said he had initially heard that someone had suffered a heart attack and fallen into the water.
Oxspring Dam, Shirecliffe
The resident, who did not want to be named, said: “I had initially heard that someone had had a heart attack, and had fallen in the pond. I have a friend who was supposed to be going fishing.
"At about 5am I saw a black car by the pond, and a silver Transit with blacked out windows.
“I don’t go fishing, but I know people who do. It’s been taped off since 5am.”
“But to be honest, it doesn’t entirely surprise me round here. It used to be known as Sin City.”
Another resident, Paul Anderson, said he had got up to go to work at 4am today, and seen the pond was already sealed off. He returned to see police on the street near the flats
He said: “I’ve been at work, and this is what I’ve come back to. I set off at 4am and it was sealed off. A lot of people have said the police helicopter was out as well earlier.
"It is shocking, isn’t it?”
Another nearby resident, living further up towards Shirecliffe, said he walked past the scene on the way to Hillsborough.
He said: “I didn’t know what to think. I thought maybe someone has fallen in when I saw the police. I am surprised to hear it’s a murder investigation.
"You get people fishing there all the time.”
If you have any information relating to the man’s death, please contact police either online, through live chat, or by calling 101. The incident number to quote is 1014 of June 16.