Damien Nettles disappearance: Calls to fund searches

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Damien NettlesImage source, Family Handout
Image caption,
The last confirmed sighting of Damien was on CCTV at a fish and chip shop in Cowes

The search for missing teenager Damien Nettles should get extra funding from the government, campaigners say.

The 16-year-old went missing after a night out with friends in Cowes, Isle of Wight, on 2 November 1996. He is believed to have been murdered.

A parliamentary petition calls for intervention similar to that given to high profile missing persons cases such as Madeleine McCann and Ben Needham.

Police say the file remains open but no new lines of inquiry had been found.

The Home Office said the force had "not made an application for additional funding in relation to this investigation", but any request would be considered.

The last confirmed sighting of Damien was on CCTV at Yorkie's fish and chip shop in Cowes High Street at about 23:45 GMT.

The parliamentary e-petition, signed by more than 2,700 people to date, states: "As the government provided extra funding for the McCanns and Needhams, we feel Damien's case should have the same level of intervention."

Image caption,
Hampshire Constabulary said the case "remained open".

The force said any information received following following a recent BBC Three documentary, Unsolved: The Boy Who Disappeared would be "assessed in due course in line with police procedures".

A spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary said: "The files for this case remain open to receive any new facts or information that could lead to further police action.

"No new lines of enquiry have been identified at this time.

"Any search for human remains requires a substantial investment of police time, expertise and resources. Officers would need verifiable information to justify such a search."

Any petition with more than 10,000 signatures on the parliament website gets a government response.

If one gets more than 100,000 signatures it is automatically considered for debate in Parliament.

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