Police search Coombe Abbey Country Park in Nicola Payne hunt

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Police investigating the disappearance of Coventry teenager Nicola Payne started searching an area of woodland near Rugby in connection with the investigation yesterday (Monday).

The searches are part of the ongoing investigation to discover what happened to Nicola when she went missing over 22 years ago.

The decision to search the area at Coombe Abbey Country Park, follows the receipt and development of new information which has come to the investigation team recently.

Police cordoned off the site at 8am yesterday and the initial phase will involve assessment of the area, ground search and identification of areas of interest.

The police search teams will be supported by Forensic Scene examiners and Cadaver dogs. In addition a number of scientists from various disciplines will support the search as it progresses. The search is expected to last up to three days.

Nicola’s family are aware of the developments and are being supported by Family Liaison Officers.

Five people, three men and two women who have been arrested in connection with the investigation remain on police bail while enquiries are ongoing.

DI Martin Slevin, who is leading the investigation said: “The investigation into the disappearance of Nicola Payne continues to attract new information and intelligence.

“Officers remain determined to discover what happened to Nicola when she went missing in 14 December 1991 and to bring offenders to justice and bring closure to Nicola’s family.

“The search over the next few days is as a result of the analysis of information received during the course of the investigation.

“Specially trained police search officers will lead the search supported by forensic scene examiners and cadaver dogs. They will be supported by scientists from various disciplines, who will be on site during the next few days.”

He added: “As this investigation has progressed we have received new information and intelligence. I would urge anybody who has any information, no matter how small or insignificant they may feel it is, to contact the incident room at Willenhall Police station or in confidence via Crimestoppers.

“There is still a £10,000 reward available for information that leads to the discovery of Nicola’s whereabouts.”