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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 June, 2003, 10:31 GMT 11:31 UK
Police dogs search for missing sailor
Simon Parkes
Simon Parkes was last seen in Gibraltar in December 1986
Detectives investigating the disappearance of a British sailor missing for more than 17 years have brought in dogs to help their search in Gibraltar.

Simon Parkes from Kingswood, south Gloucestershire, was a radio operator on HMS Illustrious when he vanished in the overseas territory in December 1986.

Then aged just 18, the naval rating left his passport, belongings and Christmas presents on board the ship when he went to visit a number of bars. He never returned.

Police re-opened the Simon Parkes case in 2001 after his shipmate, petty officer Allan Grimson, was convicted of two murders.

Dog handler

Operation Thornhill detectives in Gibraltar assisting the Royal Gibraltar Police in the hunt say they have already examined areas identified through intelligence.

Detective Inspector John Ashworth, who heads the Hampshire police team, said: "Due to the nature of the ground that we have been working on at the South Pavilion Road site, we are now going to deploy a search dog from Germany.

"Permission has been granted by the German authorities and the dog and handler are due to arrive in Gibraltar on Tuesday evening."

Hampshire Police have renewed their appeal for information about Mr Parkes' disappearance.

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