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The BBC's Alison Holt
"West Yorkshire police are now widening their search"
 real 56k

Thursday, 7 December, 2000, 15:03 GMT
Police step up hunt for missing girl
Michelle Tiernan (R) and Leanne's friend Sarah
Missing girl's sister carried out a reconstruction
Police are using underwater search teams in a bid to find missing teenager Leanne Tiernan, who disappeared 11 days ago.

The 16-year-old went missing near her home in Bramley, Leeds, on 26 November and has not been seen since.

Detective Inspector Chris Gregg said officers were deploying the West Yorkshire Police Underwater Search Unit, along with 200 Moorland rescue volunteers, to search the area in which she was last seen.

We hope for Leanne's safe and well return, but we have to be open to all possibilities

Detective Inspector Chris Gregg

The search is being extended to include the River Aire and the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.

Volunteers will help search moorland between those waterways, Det Insp Gregg confirmed.

"The problem is that the area where Leanne was last seen has a very varied terrain, with more than 700 houses, canals, woodland, open areas, drainage shafts and possibly wells, which make this a very difficult search."

Det Insp Gregg said: "We hope for Leanne's safe and well return, but we have to be open to all possibilities.

"Our investigation is making sure that all possible lines of inquiry are investigated thoroughly."

Leanne, 16, was last seen after a shopping trip to Leeds with a friend. There have been various reported sightings since, but none were confirmed.

A police reconstruction undertaken by Leanne's sister Michelle, 19, has not yielded any clues about her disappearance.

Leanne Tiernan
Leanne Tiernan: Has not gone missing before

Police are investigating a claim from a resident in Bramley that a teenage girl matching Leanne's description was seen in the area last Sunday.

Leanne wore a navy blue casual woollen Ellesse jacket, black and cream ribbed polo neck jumper and black trousers and boots when she disappeared.

Det Insp Gregg said police are continuing to check with her family and friends about any possible reason for her failure to return home on 26 November.

He said her family was "bearing up" given the trauma of what had happened.

Her divorced parents, Michael Tiernan and Sharon Hawkhead, have both made emotional appeals for her return and say her disappearance is totally out of character.

"We are offering them all the support and trying to reassure them the best we can," Det Insp Gregg added.

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