A cafe will be excavated after police found possible evidence a teenage girl could be buried there.
Officers looking for Mary Bastholm, feared to have been murdered by serial killer Fred West, have unearthed dark blue material that could match the coat she was wearing when she disappeared back in 1968.
Investigators have been using thermal cameras at The Clean Plate Cafe in Gloucester after an ITV film crew tipped them off about possible evidence for a body being buried at the site.
A statement from Gloucestershire Police said: ‘The detective leading the investigation at the Clean Plate cafe in Gloucester says that excavation work will now take place following assessments at the scene.’
It added: ‘Forensic archaeologists have today confirmed that there are a number of structural anomalies within the cellar that warrant further exploration.
‘Following a review of the analysis Gloucestershire Constabulary has now 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 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.’
The family of Mary have said they are ‘extremely happy’ that police are continuing to look for her.
‘This gives us a chance to potentially put her to rest after all these years,’ they said in a statement.
A source told the Sun how camera images from the cafe ‘clearly show material which matches the navy blue coat Mary was wearing when she disappeared.’
‘Great care is being taken to shift through the surface to preserve any potential evidence,’ they added.
Killer West was a regular at the cafe and theories that he killed Mary have persisted ever since his crimes came to light in 1994.
Mary worked as a waitress at the cafe, at the time called the Pop In, which was just a five-minute walk from West’s house at 25 Cromwell Street.
His home was later dubbed the ‘House of Horrors’ after it was revealed victims were killed and buried there.
Mary’s family always feared the worst over her disappearance, with recently unearthed footage of her father Christian showing him predicting she was taken by ‘someone she knew’ at the cafe, the Mirror reported.
The clip, from 1970, shows the devastated dad saying: ‘I will always say this – she did not go on her own.
‘For a young girl like that to evade the police for so long well she’d have to be a master of the game wouldn’t she?’
An archaeologist is now on site assisting specialist digging teams in the basement and garden of the cafe, in Southgate Street.
The expert team has reportedly removed the fireplace in the cellar of the cafe as part of the search.
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.
‘In the meantime, I continue to ask for patience and understanding from all those affected by our ongoing presence at the cafe and thank everyone who has helped us in the last 10 days.’
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