Two men held over missing teenager Nicola Payne

 

Detectives investigating the disappearance a teenager 21 years ago have arrested two men in connection with the inquiry.

West Midlands Police said the men, aged 74 and 45, were arrested in Coventry this morning on suspicion of conspiracy to prevent the lawful and decent burial of a body.

Officers from the force are searching parkland in the city for a second day after new information came to light about the disappearance of Nicola Payne, 18, who went missing in 1991.

Detectives cordoned off the patch of land behind flats on Purcell Road early yesterday.

A force spokesman said the initial search had "uncovered areas of interest" which would be further investigated by the 30 officers at the scene today, using specialist technology including metal detectors and X-ray equipment.

Specially-trained police dogs from West Midlands Police and scientists from the Home Office centre for applied science and technology (Cast) were also involved in the largescale search.

Miss Payne went missing from the Wood End area of the city on the afternoon of December 14, 1991 on her way from her home in Winston Avenue to her parent's house. Despite extensive inquiries, she has not been seen since.

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Markham said: "We are committed to investigating any new information with the aim of bringing closure to Nicola's family, who have endured a painful and traumatic 21 years since her disappearance."

Police said Miss Payne's relatives were being kept up to date as the investigation progressed.

In a statement released to the media yesterday, the family said: "It has been nearly 21 years since our daughter Nicola went missing.

"For many years we have suffered, not knowing what has happened to her. Today demonstrates that there are people still providing vital and important information to the police around her disappearance.

"If there is anyone who has information that will assist the police around this new site or witnessed anything around this location back in December 1991, please make contact with the officers.

"We are appealing as a family to find Nicola and to give us the clue we deserve. We fully support West Midlands Police at this time."

Anyone with information should contact police at Coventry on 101 and ask for Operation Blockley or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

PA

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