charlene: search at balti house

FORENSIC specialists searched three town centre restaurants in connection with the disappearance of Blackpool teenager, Charlene Downes.

Detectives leading the hunt for the 15-year-old seized a number of items from the premises, which they believe were frequented by her in the months before she disappeared.

And they also revealed today that Charlene was last seen on the evening she went missing in an alleyway which runs between the shops on Talbot Road and Clifton Street.

Forensic teams were seen at the rear of Terry's Balti House on Clifton Street. The identity of the other two restaurants has not been revealed.

Det Supt Paul Buschini said: "We carried out the searches to see if we could find any evidence to back up the suggestions that Charlene was a regular visitor to the restaurants.

"In total, we visited three establishments and carried out forensic tests. We took a number of exhibits but, at this point, it is too early to say how significant they may be.

"We now have information to suggest the last time Charlene was seen on the evening she disappeared was at the Abingdon Street entrance of the alleyway which runs behind shops in Clifton Street.

"We are still appealing for anybody who has any information to contact the police."

The three restaurants were in the Clifton Street and Talbot Road area of Blackpool. While there is not believed to be a direct link between them and the disappearance of Charlene, police are actively pursuing all lines of inquiry.

Charlene, of Buchanan Street, Blackpool, was last seen on November 1 last year.

Officers leading the hunt have made nationwide appeals but, so far, without success.

Among lines of inquiry is the search for a man called Ronnie whom she used to meet regularly and the search for a man who bought Charlene and a friend a drink at the Carousel bar on North Pier on the evening she disappeared.