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Friday, October 15, 1999 Published at 19:47 GMT 20:47 UK

UK: Scotland

New lead in 'drugs dispute' murder

William Lindsay and John Nisbet were shot and then set alight

The burnt out wreck of a car which two men were seen in before they were killed as part of a drugs war has been traced, police have revealed.

Detectives from both the Lothian and Borders and Strathclyde forces are involved in the hunt for the killers of John Nisbet, 25, from Craigneuk and William Lindsay, 26, from Motherwell.

The men were found on a hilltop near Elphinstone, East Lothian, on Wednesday. They had been shot and their bodies set alight.

[ image: Police have combed the field for clues]
Police have combed the field for clues
Police say they have found a burnt-out white Peugot 406 near Airdire, which they believe may be the vehicle the men were seen travelling in.

Lothian and Borders say the car is a significant new lead.

Detective Superintendent Pat Byrne said he was keeping an open mind about a motive although there has been speculation the men died as part of a drugs dispute.

The men are reported to have been seen on Tuesday evening in Motherwell and Wishaw and police are appealing for anyone with information about their movements to come forward.

Det Supt Byrne said: "Between something like 9 o'clock on the Tuesday night and the early hours of Wednesday morning there's been some kind of incident there, probably involving a vehicle and then subsequently involving a fire."

[ image: Police recovered the car at Salsburgh]
Police recovered the car at Salsburgh
Motherwell and Wishaw MP Frank Roy said: "It's more shock at more needless violence and death where it's becoming more and more accustomed throughout Scotland throughout housing schemes."

About 60 police and support staff are now involved in the murder investigation.

The area, part of 420-acre Elphinstone Tower estate, was sealed off in the search for evidence.

Estate manager George Fraser said the murders had shocked the normally quiet community.

"You don't expect something like this to happen so close to your own door," he added.

One of the partially-clothed bodies was discovered by George Fleming, 58, who was walking his dog, and the second was found by police shortly afterwards.

Mr Fleming said it looked as if someone had built a big fire as the ground was scorched around the area where he saw the body. But, he said, there was no sign of violence.

A police incident room has been set up in Dalkeith, Midlothian.

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