Police finish searching killer's Brighton homes

Posted On 29 Jul 2010 at 8:56 am

Police have finished searching two Brighton and Hove properties linked to the murderer Peter Tobin.

The latest search, at 152-154 Marine Parade, Brighton, has now ended.

Tobin lived at the address in the late 1980s.

No evidence of human remains was found by the police search teams, scenes of crimes officers and forensic archaeologists who spent 15 days there.

They excavated the large rear garden and forensically exploring the basement areas of the property.

A similar police search at 67 Station Road, Portslade, drew to a close last week after nine days of excavations which also ruled out any criminality linked to Tobin.

The work is part of Operation Anagram, a national scoping exercise being conducted by police forces across Britain.

It was set up to identify issues of concern in relation to Tobin that require further police work.

Despite his failing to engage with police, Operation Anagram continues to examine meticulously Tobin’s life.

This has been helped by the excellent information received from the public.

It has allowed the investigation team to piece together the complex life of the serial killer who travelled the country using a variety of aliases and vehicles.

DCI Nick Sloan, of Sussex Police Major Crime Branch, said: “As a result of work conducted under Operation Anagram, two addresses in Brighton and Hove were identified as there being enough intelligence to warrant searches of the back gardens and some interior spaces of the buildings.

“We have a duty to fully investigate any allegations of criminality and teams of specialists and experts undertook these complex searches.

“I am completely satisfied that we have conducted thorough and meticulous searches and that both addresses are unconnected to any criminality linked to Peter Tobin.

“Commencing the search at both addresses on 12 July, we used ground-penetrating radar to map out any unusual fluctuations in the ground within the garden and the property itself.

“Areas which necessitated further exploration were excavated and tons of earth and concrete have been analysed, sifted and metal-detected by Sussex Police search teams and archaeologist experts from University College London.

“Literally, no stone was left unturned.”

As part of the investigation, officers from the Sussex Police Specialist Search Unit excavated two wells, one at each location.

Using confined space harnesses, it took the team a day to remove earth and rubble from each well, digging to a depth of 10ft while working in precarious conditions.

A Victorian soak-away was also discovered in the basement of Station Road and confined space harnesses were used to allow an officer to gain access into small pockets of space underneath the cellar at Marine Parade which had been boarded up.

Once the searches were completed, a surveyor examined the property with the deputy senior investigating officer and owner.

Agreement was reached on the damage and repairs.

DCI Sloan added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Essential Hair and Beauty, Scizzor Sisters Barber Shop and the residents at 67 Station Road, Portslade, Brighton Housing Trust and the residents at 152-154 Marine Parade, Brighton.

“They have all been incredibly patient in light of the disruption caused by the police activity and the inevitable large media presence.

“I would also like to thank the wider communities who may have been temporarily inconvenienced by the police search.

“We made every effort to minimise disruption and appointed resident and community liaison officers for each address, offering regular updates and street briefings to keep those affected informed and to ensure that they could go about their day-to-day business as unhindered as possible.

“I know that the majority have supported and understood our work here in the last few days.”

Nikki Homewood, director of homelessness and complex needs services at Brighton Housing Trust, said: “During the last two and a half weeks, we have worked closely with Sussex Police to assist them all we could during this sensitive operation.

“Police have ensured that they have given the trust and all the residents support and have also taken into consideration their day-to-day needs which have been affected by the work.

“We’d like to thank the liaison officers for their continued support, keeping us informed and up-to-date as the operation progressed.”

DCI Sloan said: “We are still receiving calls from members of public who have contacted Sussex Police or the Operation Anagram team with information.

“All calls received are being worked through by the Major Crime Branch.”

Anyone with information can still contact Sussex Police on 0845 6070999 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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