A stunned community close to where police forensic investigators are searching for a missing schoolgirl remain hopeful officers will make a positive discovery.
Seven members of the Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) unit have spent the past two days hunting for evidence at a flat in All Hallows Road, close to the area where 15-year-old Paige Chivers was last seen.
The Montgomery High School pupil has not been seen since 2007, but new forensic technology has allowed officers to conduct a thorough search of the abandoned flats.
Officers were there on Tuesday and were continuing work into a second day yesterday.
And those living and working in the area say the presence of the officers has given them renewed hope their questions about what happened to Paige may eventually be answered.
Christine Hewitt, 52, manager of The Warehouse Takeaway, on All Hallows Road, said: “It’s so sad for the family.
“Most people who have been in here lately are hopeful she will be found.
“The latest forensics should find something, but it’s very upsetting this has come up again.
“Paige used to come in here and I knew her family from the school, and you never think something like this will happen.
“We always hoped she would be found but as time goes by you start thinking the worst.”
Lynda Mather, manager of Bispham Van Hire, on All Hallows Road, added: “I hope they find her alive somewhere.
“This has affected the whole community.
“Everyone around here knows about it and everyone wants some closure.
“I just want to think she has gone away somewhere and she will one day walk back into the community.”
The search of the property comes a week after police offered a £30,000 reward for information leading to a conviction and or the recovery of Paige’s body.
Paige was just 15 when she left the family home in Longford Avenue, Bispham, after an argument with her father, on August 23, 2007.
The schoolgirl, who would now be 21, disappeared just months after her mother died of cancer.
Nigel Pawson, 53, of Fylde UPVC Hardware, says he has his doubts about what the search will find.
He said: “There’s been a lot of publicity over the years, so I don’t think she will turn up.
“Everyone around here knows about Paige and when I heard this was happening I didn’t think they would find anything because it’s been too long.
“I just hope the family gets some kind of closure, because whether it be good or bad, the family needs it.”
Elaine Wake, 60, of All Hallows Road, added: “Everyone around here is still wondering what happened to Paige, and the community wants to know if she is alive because it’s upsetting to see the police again.”