Police have started a full-scale search of part of a landfill site at Milton in Cambridgeshire this week as part of the continuing investigation to find RAF serviceman Corrie McKeague, 23, from Dunfermline.
Following preparatory work including building access routes to the area of the site that needs to be searched, moving 8,000 tonnes of bulk material and placing facilities at the location, the full scale search will now begin.
Detective Superintendent Katie Elliott said: “The search is likely to take six to ten weeks to complete, although this will obviously depend on daily progress on the site.
“We have a large area – around 920 square metres, up to a depth of eight metres – of waste to search through and a plan has been put in place to manage this process to ensure a thorough and comprehensive search is undertaken.
“Teams of specialist search trained police officers from both Suffolk and Norfolk will be carrying out the work to find anything that may be linked to the investigation.
“We need to find him and discover what happened to him. While the search may not provide the answers as to what happened it is something we need to do as our investigation continues.”
Since Corrie was reported as missing police have been working through all possibilities to discover where he is. The work has been prioritised with the most likely scenarios being examined in detail.
One of these lines of enquiry has been in respect of waste collections from the area around the time of the last sighting of Corrie.
It was known, and CCTV shows, that a waste lorry made a collection in the area a short time after the last confirmed sighting of Corrie on 24 September 2016 and the lorry was seized in the early stages of the enquiry for forensic examination.
“This did not reveal any traces of him, however the waste collection has been one line of enquiry police have persisted with and kept under constant review.
A 26 year-old man was last week arrested and later bailed by police in connection with the case on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. The man is understood to be a waste site operative for the bin company Biffa, but police said the man bailed was not the bin lorry driver.