Page last updated at 18:10 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

York district searched in Claudia Lawrence inquiry

Claudia Lawrence
Claudia Lawrence has not been seen since March 2009

Police investigating the disappearance of York chef Claudia Lawrence are carrying out new searches in the city.

Officers said the operation, which started on Tuesday in an area known as The Outgang in Heslington, would take up to three days.

North Yorkshire Police said the search was the result of information received "in the last few days".

Miss Lawrence, who was 35 years old when she went missing, was last seen leaving her workplace on 18 March 2009.

A police spokesman said the searches, which stopped for the night at about 1700 GMT, were not connected to an appeal earlier this month in which detectives said they wanted to speak to a "mystery boyfriend" she spent the night with two nights before she vanished.

Her disappearance is being treated as suspected murder.

Police dogs

The area being searched by police is land close to the University of York, where Ms Lawrence worked. North Yorkshire Police said ten officers and three dogs were involved in the operation.

Numerous appeals for information have been made by her father and the hunt for her has taken detectives to Cyprus and the Republic of Ireland.

Miss Lawrence was first reported missing after failing to turn up for her early-morning shift at the University of York's Goodricke College on 19 March, 2009.

The Claudia Lawrence investigation is one of the largest ever carried out by North Yorkshire Police and has so far cost more than £600,000.

During the inquiry, hundreds of properties have been searched, including at Miss Lawrence's local pub, the Nag's Head, just a few doors from her home in Heworth Road.

Rivers in the York area have also been scoured. The searches will resume on Thursday.

Search area
The searches are taking place close to the University of York

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