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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 March 2008, 15:31 GMT
Neighbours await Shannon answers
By Steve Blears
BBC News, Dewsbury

Shannon police search
Police in Dewsbury conducted door-to-door searches for Shannon
Residents in Shannon Matthews' street in Dewsbury emerged from their homes this morning in pyjamas, nursing cups of tea and hangovers.

At dawn, news crews and photographers gathered outside the empty family home anticipating the joyous return of the nine-year-old's mother, Karen Matthews, along with the missing girl's brothers and sisters.

There are still 'Missing' posters in the windows of houses on Moorside Road, but hundreds more were ripped up and used as confetti during the celebrations on Friday - much of it still lying in the street.

'Welcome home'

A few doors down there is a make-shift 'Welcome home' banner - written on a bed-sheet. Meanwhile, children in pyjamas offered reporters cups of tea.

Neighbours have been poring over tabloid photos of themselves partying in the street after Shannon's safe discovery in the base of a divan bed at a flat just a mile away in the nearby district of Batley Carr.

Many say they do not recognise the newspaper pictures of the man being held over the nine-year-old's abduction.

"I've not spoken to him, but I've seen him in the club at Batley," said one man.

Mick Donovan, 39, is being questioned by the police. It is understood he was previously known as Paul Drake before changing his name. He has been described as a relative of Shannon's step-father.

The search for the nine-year-old has already been described by West Yorkshire Police as the biggest missing person hunt since the Yorkshire Ripper inquiry, but there are those who feel Shannon could've been found sooner.

"I think police could have done a bit better than what they done," said Charlotte Thornton, a friend of Karen Matthews.

"A mile away and didn't find her until 24 days later. They didn't look far enough in my opinion."

There's not been a lot of complaining about difficulties and more focus on getting on with the job and doing everything they could to find Shannon
Kathy Robertson, local vicar

But local vicar Kathy Robertson told BBC News 24 that neighbours stayed focused on efforts to help find Shannon.

"It's been a really strong community actually and although the time has been difficult, there's been a real strong determination to not give up hope," Rev Robertson said.

She said she was not aware of a lot of criticism of the police search.

"There's not been a lot of complaining about difficulties and more focus on getting on with the job and doing everything they could to find Shannon."

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