Gloucestershire Police have confirmed they will excavate a cafe in Gloucester that has been linked to the disappearance of Mary Bastholm in 1968.
Last Tuesday (May 10) officers began searching the Clean Plate cafe after a documentary film crew reported how they had found possible evidence to suggest a body could be buried within the property.
This included an image of what appeared to be blue material buried in one area of the cellar. Mary was wearing a blue coat when she went missing.
The cafe the workplace of fifteen-year-old Mary Bastholm, and one of the last places the teenager was seen before she vanished more than fifty years ago.
Her disappearance has long been linked to the serial killer Fred West, who was working in the area around the time she went missing.
Police say there is now "enough evidence to justify" extending the search.
Following a review of the analysis Gloucestershire Constabulary has approved excavation work to begin to establish if any human remains are present.
The work will last several weeks but will not begin until at least Wednesday (19 May) while final assessments are made.
Mary’s family have been updated with this information and are supportive of the activity taking place. They continue to receive support from family liaison officers.
Detective Chief Inspector John Turner said: “The analysis from our experts and the material provided by the production company means there is enough evidence to justify excavation work beginning.
“I’ve spoken to the family and was so impressed by their quiet dignity and gratitude for all the work we’ve done and will be doing.
“They understand it is possible we won’t find human remains but they also know that we will do everything we can to establish if Mary is buried at this location.
“This will be slow and painstaking work but we have the best people on it and I can reassure our communities that all involved, from my team of investigators, our scenes of crime officers, search officers and family liaison officers to the forensic archaeologists who will continue their work are absolutely committed to the job ahead."
He continued: “In the meantime, I continue to ask for patience and understanding from all those affected by our ongoing presence at the café and thank everyone who has helped us in the last ten days.”
Mary’s family has also issued a statement: “Senior Investigating Officer John Turner has sat with us and explained the ongoing investigation as well as his intentions to excavate the café to try and find Mary.
“We are extremely happy Gloucestershire Constabulary is continuing to try and search for Mary and this gives us a chance to potentially put her at rest after all these years.
“We want to thank everyone who has wished us support through this distressing time, and we are continuing to be in close touch with the investigation team, and are being kept up to date with any new developments.
“We hope this is a chance to finally get closure for Mary and would like to continue to ask for privacy whilst the excavation is ongoing.”