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Last Updated:  Thursday, 13 March, 2003, 17:48 GMT
Missing woman - police search farmland
Melanie Hall
Miss Hall has never been found
Police investigating the 1996 disappearance of Melanie Hall have been searching several sites in the Bath area, following the arrest of two men in connection with the case.

Miss Hall, then 25, from Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, disappeared in the early hours of Sunday 9 June after a night out at Cadillacs nightclub in Bath.

The hospital clerical worker has never been found.

A team of officers are concentrating their search on a field near Inglesbatch, used as a motorcyle track.

Farm at Inglesbatch
Police are searching farmland at Inglesbatch

A flat above a charity shop in Bath has also being checked, as has the Inglesbatch home of one of the men arrested on Wednesday.

A small area at the top of a sloping field at Inglesbatch, located in winding country lanes, was cordoned off while officers searched through the mud.

An Avon and Somerset police spokesman said the search could take some time.

Detective Inspector Ian Glover said: "It has to be done professionally and it may take some days."

"My officers are currently looking for clues or evidence relating to the investigation."

There may still be someone out there who has yet to come forward
Detective Superintendent Barrie Douglas

Inglesbatch is four miles from Bath and police are using Beaufort Farm as a base.

Officers used giant sieves on Thursday to search for clues in earth dug from a mound at the top of the field.

Water was used to flush the soil through as minute pieces were removed and kept for examination by forensic experts.

Police say they were directed to the field by a member of the public.

They have confirmed that neither of the men arrested was Miss Hall's boyfriend.

Incident room

Steve and Pat Hall, Melanie's parents, said in a statement: "We have been told of the new information and the arrests that took place on Wednesday.

"It is far too early to know whether this will finally lead to the truth about what happened to our daughter.

"We hope this is the breakthrough the police need but we will wait and watch developments before commenting further."

An incident room has been set up with 40 officers at Kingswood Police Station.

Euro 96

Detective Superintendent Barrie Douglas, who is leading the investigation, said: "This new information has hopefully allowed us to take forward the enquiry.

"However, I would like to appeal again to local people to think back to the summer of 1996.

"There may still be someone out there who has yet to come forward.

"To jog people's memories: on Saturday 5 June the Euro 96 football tournament hosted in England started," he added.

Two held over missing woman
12 Mar 03 |  England
Melanie Hall: the background
12 Mar 03 |  England

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