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Cost of Corrie McKeague landfill search tops £1.5m

PUBLISHED: 10:36 09 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:36 09 December 2017

Corrie McKeague went missing after a night out in Bury St Edmunds in September last year. Pictures: CONTRIBUTED

Corrie McKeague went missing after a night out in Bury St Edmunds in September last year. Pictures: CONTRIBUTED

Archant

The total cost of the landfill search for missing RAF serviceman Corrie McKeague is more than £1.5million, a freedom of information (FoI) request has revealed.

The original 20-week search for the 23-year-old, who went missing after a night out in Bury St Edmunds on September 24 last year, was called off in July after no trace of the gunner was found.

Specialist officers searched through more than 6,500 tonnes of waste in the initial hunt at the landfill site at Milton in Cambridgeshire, which cost £1,291,181.

A further search, which resumed on October 23 and could finish next week, is estimated to have cost £240,000 to date.

The £1,531,181 cost of both searches does not include salary costs or costs incurred to backfill officers who have been drafted in.

The money has come out of the collaborative budget for Norfolk and Suffolk’s Joint Major Investigation Team (MIT).

The budget is split 56.8/43.2 between the two forces, meaning Norfolk has contributed £869,710 to the search costs and Suffolk £661,470.

The FoI was submitted by David Lamming, who said he was concerned that the cost of the search was disproportionate with regard to other demands on the stretched Suffolk policing budget.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “We always make sure there is careful consideration of decisions needed to be made in regard to any complex major investigation.

“Our primary focus has always been to do everything we reasonably can to find Corrie and provide answers for his family.”

The FoI also revealed that the cost of the investigation into the murder of Weybread couple Peter and Sylvia Stuart, also covered by the MIT budget, is £174,622 to date.

Ali Qazimaj, 43, was jailed in March for at least 35 years, but the body of Mrs Stuart has never been found and there is currently no active searching taking place.

These are the only two missing person investigations for which separate financial costs could be identified.

According to the FoI, in the two-year period October 1, 2015, to September 30, 2017, 1,762 adults had been reporting ‘missing’ and 50 adults reported ‘absent’ in Suffolk.

Costs allocated to these investigations could not be extracted from police budgets.

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