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Shannon search costs over 2.5m

9 June 08 16:10 GMT

The police investigation into the disappearance of Dewsbury schoolgirl Shannon Matthews has so far cost more than £2.5m, it has been revealed.

The nine-year-old was missing for three weeks earlier this year before being found in a flat near her home.

More than 250 uniformed officers and 60 detectives were involved in the round-the-clock search operation.

The West Yorkshire Police inquiry has cost £2,659,000, a request under the Freedom of Information Act revealed.

Before the figures were obtained by the Yorkshire Post newspaper, it had been thought the force was facing a bill of about £1m.

Charity funds

During the 24 days that Shannon was missing, some £1,200 was donated by people on the Dewsbury Moor estate to a public fund set up to help find her.

Since she was discovered, questions have been asked about what happened to the money.

It has now been announced that the cash has been shared out among children's charities after residents voted on where it should go.

Some people who donated were given their money back, but many simply put cash into a collection tin and could not be traced.

Dawn Battle, a spokesperson for the Shannon Matthews Appeal, said: "It's not going back on the estate because it was raised for Shannon, for a missing child.

"Some of the money has gone back to people who donated it.

"The rest has been equally divided between the Children's Society, which is families and children, and various other things.

"So we've put it into good use, which is what it was raised for in the first place."

Shannon's mother, Karen Matthews, has been accused of child neglect and perverting the course of justice.

She is due to face a trial in November with the child's alleged kidnapper Michael Donovan and was last week refused bail by a judge at Leeds Crown Court.

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