‘Number of calls’ since re-appeal for information about missing Northamptonshire teenager Sarah Benford

Police searching woodland near Warkton as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Sarah Benford from Kettering last week

Police searching woodland near Warkton as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Sarah Benford from Kettering last week

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Police say they have received a number of calls since re-appealing for help in the search for missing teenager Sarah Benford.

Sarah from Kettering has not been seen since she went missing from her care home in April 2000 and her disappearance has been treated as a murder investigation since 2003.

Sarah Benford

Sarah Benford

Last weekend would have been Sarah’s 30th birthday and police used the milestone as an opportunity to re-appeal for help in finding out what has happened to Sarah.

They searched an area of woodland in Warkton, near Kettering, which they believe may have been used by people who knew Sarah at the time of going missing.

A handgun was discovered during the searches, but it is not yet known if it is linked to Sarah’s disappearance.

Following the new searches and fresh appeal for information, a spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said: “Officers investigating the disappearance of Sarah Benford have received a number of calls from members of the public following last week’s search in Warkton.

“Enquiries are now taking place as a result of the information received and we continue to appeal to anyone who may have any information about Sarah, or what happened to her to contact us on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”

Since the launch of the murder investigation, officers have pursued more than 5,000 lines of enquiry, taken 664 statements and collated more than 1,000 reports.

The investigation has also been reviewed by Derbyshire and Leicestershire Police and the Northamptonshire cold case team has also been reviewing the information and evidence from the case.

As part of this review officers have spoken to 20 people and taken further statements and reports.

It was this work which led to last week’s searches.

Speaking last week, Detective Chief Inspector Martin Kinchin said: “Extensive searches took place when Sarah first went missing almost 16 years ago, and eight people have been arrested in connection with her disappearance, but no-one has ever been charged.

“We believe Sarah may have been murdered in the early days of her disappearance and are today searching an area of land in the hope of finding some connection to her.

“We are also continuing to appeal to the public for their help in finding out what happened to Sarah.

“I am sure that people in the Kettering area may know what happened to her, or have heard rumours about what happened – I want those people to come forward.”