Detectives searching a cafe linked to a potential victim of Fred West have said dark blue material matching a coat worn by her has been found at the cafe.
Police have been searching Clean Plate in Gloucester where Mary Bastholm used to work after a production company filming a documentary “found possible evidence to suggest a body could be buried within the property,” police have said.
They also found “an image of what appeared to be blue material buried in one area of the cellar.”
Mary was wearing a blue coat when she went missing back in the 60s,
Forensic archaeologists have today confirmed that there are a number of structural anomalies within the cellar that warrant further exploration.
Following a review Gloucestershire Constabulary has now approved excavation work to begin to establish from Wednesday at the earliest, to see if any human remains are present.
Detective Chief Inspector John Turner said: “The analysis from our experts and the material provided by the production company means there is enough evidence to justify excavation work beginning.
“I’ve spoken to the family and was so impressed by their quiet dignity and gratitude for all the work we’ve done and will be doing.
“They understand it is possible we won’t find human remains but they also know that we will do everything we can to establish if Mary is buried at this location.
“This will be slow and painstaking work but we have the best people on it and I can reassure our communities that all involved, from my team of investigators, our scenes of crime officers, search officers and family liaison officers to the forensic archaeologists who will continue their work are absolutely committed to the job ahead.
“In the meantime, I continue to ask for patience and understanding from all those affected by our ongoing presence at the café and thank everyone who has helped us in the last ten days.”
It was claimed last night investigators had also found evidence of bones at the site but police stressed last night this was not true.
Mary’s family has also issued a statement: “Senior Investigating Officer John Turner has sat with us and explained the ongoing investigation as well as his intentions to excavate the café to try and find Mary.
“We are extremely happy Gloucestershire Constabulary is continuing to try and search for Mary and this gives us a chance to potentially put her at rest after all these years.
“We want to thank everyone who has wished us support through this distressing time, and we are continuing to be in close touch with the investigation team, and are being kept up to date with any new developments.
“We hope this is a chance to finally get closure for Mary and would like to continue to ask for privacy whilst the excavation is ongoing.”
Mary was 15 when she went missing on her way to catch a bus to visit her boyfriend Tim Merrett in Gloucester, in January 1968, after a shift in the nearby Pop In cafe – now the Clean Plate.
Her disappearance has remained a mystery ever since although there has been much speculation over the years since that she could have been one of the West’s many victims.
He was a known customer of the cafe.
The Mirror revealed last week that his evil wife Rose West was also seen in the cafe in Gloucester city centre as a teenager.
The duo have always denied all knowledge of Mary, whose body has never been found.
A business owner near the café said: “It’s terrifying – we’re told the dig will be going on for weeks. You can hear the drilling.
“Everyone in the world is focused on this little corner of Gloucester.”
So far forensic archaeologists have poured over the scene and have removed a fireplace in order to help their work.
They have been using geophysical survey equipment as part of exploratory work to see whether a full excavation of the cellar is required.
It has been claimed they are focusing on an area to the side of the basement which Fred is alleged to have converted into toilets.
Gloucestershire police have so far defended the decision in 2012 not to excavate the cafe, as there was “insufficient evidence” the teenager was buried there.
Family liaison officers are providing support and updates for Mary’s surviving family.
Fred West was charged with 12 murders, but took his own life in a Birmingham prison before his trial.
Rose West was convicted of 10 murders in November 1995 and is serving life.