Kent

Sarah Wellgreen: Lane closed and Dartford searched for missing mum

Sarah Jane Wellgreen Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption Sarah Wellgreen was last seen during the evening of 9 October

The search for a missing mother of five has been extended to a town centre after a lane was sealed off by police who launched a murder inquiry.

Sarah Wellgreen, 46, was last seen in the Bazes Shaw area of New Ash Green, in Kent, on the evening of 9 October.

Officers with sniffer dogs have been searching an area off Scratchers Lane, in nearby Fawkham since Wednesday.

Search teams are also conducting searches in Dartford town centre, close to Orchards Shopping Centre.

Detectives said her disappearance was "entirely out of character" and was being treated "as a potential murder".

Image caption The search for Sarah Wellgreen is being concentrated on a five-mile area around New Ash Green

Ms Wellgreen's car was left at her home address and there have been no new transactions on her bank or credit cards.

The only item missing from her home is her black iPhone 4.

Det Supt Paul Fotheringham said: "She'd just had a new job offer she was looking forward to.

"She has spoken to friends about looking forward to the future and, most significantly, she has now missed one of her children's birthdays."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Police have been searching an area off Scratchers Lane

Residents said Ms Wellgreen was seen regularly around the Bazes Shaw area with her young children but commuted to Portsmouth where she worked in a beauty salon.

Martin Prus, her manager at the Puresun Hair and Beauty Salon in Portsmouth, said: "Every morning, every evening, in the middle of the day, now, we're talking about her.

"We can't stop thinking about her because this is something we're not imagining to have happened."

Timeline

9 October - Ms Wellgreen is last seen in the evening in the Bazes Shaw area of New Ash Green, Kent.

12 October - Her 22-year-old son Lewis Burdett posts a message on his Facebook page appealing for anyone who had seen her to get in touch.

16 October - A man in his 30s is arrested in connection with the investigation and later released on bail until 16 November.

19 October - Police search an area of woodland near Ms Wellgreen's home in New Ash Green.

20 October - Residents from New Ash Green and surrounding areas join the search for the missing mother.

22 October - The New Ash Green Village Association says volunteer searches "would continue until Sarah is found".

24 October - Kent Police announce the disappearance of Ms Wellgreen is being treated "as a potential murder".

Hundreds of villagers have joined police in searching for Ms Wellgreen in New Ash Green and surrounding rural areas.

Co-ordinators of the volunteer search teams said they were devastated that the investigation was now being treated as a murder inquiry.

Image caption Police are also searching an area of Dartford town centre
Image caption Kent Police announced they were broadening the search on Thursday

Shaun Fishenden and Sharon Brine said: "We send our thoughts and prayers to Sarah's family at such a distressing time."

Another volunteer, David Carter, said: "The whole community has been superb. It's all over social media.

"Anybody who's got any time, we're asking to come down and help out."

Last week a man in his 30s was arrested and bailed in connection with Ms Wellgreen's disappearance.

Ms Wellgreen is described as being white, about 5ft 7in tall, of medium build, with green eyes and straight brown shoulder-length hair.

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