Claudia Lawrence: Police searching gravel pits eight miles from missing woman’s home

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Claudia Lawrence went missing in 2009 and police believe she was murdered, although no body has ever been found. North Yorkshire Police confirmed on Tuesday an operation has begun to search the gravel pits at Sand Hutton, to the east of York.

Detective Superintendent Wayne Fox did not say how long the operation would last, but said he expected a team of divers and forensics to be deployed to the site “for a number of days”.

Detective Superintendent Fox, who took over as senior investigating officer in the case earlier this year, added the Sand Hutton location is “one of several active lines of inquiry which are currently being investigated” by officers.

The police chief added Ms Lawrence’s family have been informed of the latest development.

Speaking from the scene of the search operation, Detective Superintendent Fox said: “The searches which have commenced here today at Sand Hutton Gravel Pits are in relation to the disappearance and suspected murder of Claudia Lawrence more than 12 years ago.

“While I cannot say at this stage how long the search may take, I do anticipate that a number of specialist officers and staff, including underwater search teams, and forensic experts are likely to be at this location for a number of days.

“Whilst I am unable to disclose what brought us to this location, I would like to stress that the searches that you will see in coming days are just one of several active lines of inquiry which are currently being investigated and pursued by North Yorkshire Police Major Investigation team in our efforts to establish what happened to Claudia and to identify any person responsible for causing her harm.

“I can confirm Claudia‘s family are aware this activity is taking place.”

This is a developing news story, more to follow.

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