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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 June, 2003, 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK
Missing sailor: police return home
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 returned from a search trip to Gibraltar.

Simon Parkes from Kingswood, south Gloucestershire, was a radio operator on HMS Illustrious when he vanished in the British colony 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 investigation into his disappearance in 2001 after his shipmate, petty officer Allan Grimson, was convicted of two murders.

Search dogs

Officers from Hampshire Police - who investigated Grimson's murders - flew out to Gibraltar a week ago to carry out new searches for clues on the peninsular.

They brought in search dogs and dug up an area of garden in near the South Barracks just outside Gibraltar Town.

The team has now returned home, but says a search of a storm drain in Rosia Lane, which leads from South Pavilion Road, will continue thanks to Royal Gibraltar Police and the Highways and Sewerage Department.

Officers say another search, of land at the edge of Trafalgar Cemetery in the colony, has concluded with nothing found.

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

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