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Last Updated: Monday, 1 August 2005, 17:59 GMT 18:59 UK
Police step up missing man hunt
Edward Donnelly
Edward Donnelly was last seen in March 2002
A road through a former County Durham pit village was closed on Monday as police searched a former air raid shelter in a missing man inquiry.

Edward Donnelly, 57, disappeared from his home in Fynway, Sacriston, County Durham, on 25 March 2002.

In March, police went to a house in Elm Street, Sacriston, following a tip off and searched it for three days.

Samples were sent for forensic analysis and Monday's search came after officers received more information.

A 1km stretch of road on the site of the old Sacriston pit, at Blackett's Bank, on Acornclose Lane, was closed from 0800 BST on Monday.

Officers started work on a concrete structure near a scrap yard, which in the past was used as an air raid shelter and explosives store.

Received information

For the last three years, it has been buried under hundreds of tonnes of earth to stop children playing in the area.

Det Supt Neil Malkin said: "We have now received information leading us to this area which has had many uses over the years.

"Obviously we would not want to speculate on what we might find until we actually gain entry to the building.

"Mr Donnelly was a member of the community in Sacriston and I am asking people who live in the village to help us establish what has happened to him."

Durham Police said a 49-year-old Sacriston man was arrested in March on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

He was released on bail but in April he was found dead at his home. His death is not being treated as suspicious.


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