Police investigating the murder of Blackpool teenager Paige Chivers are searching for a body in an area of land in Bispham.
The hunt follows new information about the possible location of the body of Paige, who disappeared in 2007 and who police believe has been murdered.
The new information was given to police after a fresh appeal last month for information and offer of a £30,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of Paige’s murderer or murderers or the recovery of her body.
Yesterday’s search area was focused on an overgrown patch of land off All Hallows Road behind All Hallows Church.
The area has been secured and a cordon and will be searched. This is likely to be in place for a number of days.
Police will strip back the vegetation before deciding on the next step in the process.
The inquiry team is being assisted by advisors from the National Crime Agency and forensic scientists in how best to carry out the searches.
Officers will also be carrying out house to house inquiries in the area to try to trace people who lived there at the time Paige went missing in August 2007.
Paige’s family are aware of this development and are being kept fully informed.
Last week crime scene investigators and forensic scientists searched a flat in Bispham as part of the inquiry. While nothing immediately significant was recovered, forensic tests are ongoing.
Detective Superintendent Andy Webster, of Lancashire Police, said: “While we are keeping an open mind about what we may find, if anything, at this site we do believe the information we have received is genuine and we are treating it seriously.
“We are taking a graduated approach to the search and we will first clear the area and assess it to see what the best approach is to searching further.”
He added: “If someone does have information, but is reluctant to come forward due to fears arising either from their own involvement in criminality or they may have played minor role in assisting Paige’s killer or killers, I would still ask them to come forward and speak to us.
“Our primary objective remains to identify Paige’s killer or killers and recovery her body so her family can lay her to rest.
“We are also keen to tie down Paige’s movements around the Bank Holiday weekend in August 2007 and would ask anyone with information about that, however small, to contact us.”
One resident, who was due to speak to police today as part of their door-to-door inquiries, said she had been surprised to see police camped out near the church.
She said: “I used to see Paige coming down the road. It’s tragic – you don’t like to hear this of anybody.
Contact police on 101 quoting log 0303 of April 15.
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at Crimestoppers-uk.org