Homes raided in search for murder suspect

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The Independent Online

Britain's most wanted man continued to elude police last night, despite dozens of possible sightings and a series of armed raids on potential hiding places.

Hours after possible sightings were followed by raids on properties in the market town of Selby in North Yorkshire, police officers spoke of their desperation to find Mark Hobson, who has not been seen since the bodies were discovered of twin sisters and an elderly couple four days ago.

"He could be moving around by foot, by car or even by bike. He could be anywhere ­ we just don't know," Detective Superintendent Javad Ali, who is leading the investigation, told a press conference.

"Everything about him concerns me. Make no mistake ­ we will trace him."

Two women were arrested during early morning raids on homes of Mr Hobson's associates yesterday. A woman possibly known to Mr Hobson as "auntie" was arrested in Selby, where residents were awoken at 5.15am by the sound of armed police running down the street.

"They knelt outside the front gate. One of them had a loudspeaker and shouted that they were armed. They broke down a door at a neighbouring house and I saw some officers in the back garden. They were pointing their rifles at next door's roof," a witness said.

A dozen armed police raided a separate property in Selby and arrested two women, named later as Valerie Kemp and her daughter, Donna.

Police are examining CCTV tapes from petrol stations and town centres, and taxi drivers have been put on alert as the search continues for Mr Hobson, 34, a former bin man with three children.

The operation, which involves 100 officers, follows the murders of 27-year-old twins Diane and Claire Sanderson in Camblesforth and an elderly couple, James and Joan Britton, 25 miles away in Strensall. The bodies were found on Sunday within the space of three hours.

Friends of Diane Sanderson, an assistant manager at a curtain shop in Selby, said Claire had been involved in a volatile relationship with Mr Hobson.According to last night's Channel 4 News, Claire had been missing from work for about two weeks prior to the discovery of her death. The programme claimed her sister Diane, concerned over her whereabouts, visited the flat on Saturday night and was found murdered the next morning. But a spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: "We understand there are reports in the media that one of the twins had been killed two weeks before her sister. This is not the situation as we understand it."

Mr Hobson, a colliery deputy's son who was brought up in West Yorkshire, had been sacked three weeks ago from his job with Onyx, a refuse collection company servicing the Selby district, according to a friend.

Police have now indicated that nothing appears to have been stolen from the home where the Brittons were found dead at 11am on Sunday. They have also disclosed that different weapons were found at the two murder scenes and that the probable weapon used against the twinshas been discovered.