Huge search operation underway as police teams dig up woodland

A major search operation is underway with forensic investigators and police officers appearing to dig in a large area of woodland.

Officers from Merseyside Police dressed in white suits have been combing a significant area on the border of Merseyside and Lancashire for at least seven days.

Digging has been taking place and the sound of machinery used to clear undergrowth could be heard in the vicinity.

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A blue tent could be seen in the middle of undergrowth near Intake Lane, close to Rainford and Bickerstaffe, with a line of black bins stationed next to each other.

Areas where a search has been completed have been marked off in the woodland, about five minutes from the West Lancashire village.

Police tape has been strung around trees to seal off the large area and there is a portable toilet for workers.

Police investigation work in woodland on Intake Lane in Bickerstaffe.
(Image: Colin Lane/Liverpool Echo)

Today, Merseyside Police remained tight-lipped about the operation and declined to comment on the nature of the large search.

A spokesman told the ECHO: “Merseyside Police can confirm that specialist officers are currently carrying out a search in woodland, off Intake Lane in Bickerstaffe, Lancashire, as part of an ongoing investigation.”

The squad is expected to remain at the site for the rest of the week, and possibly longer.

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Onlookers said police first arrived at the site on Thursday and that the numbers and activity has heightened in recent days.

Locals coming across the operation have been quizzed by police officers about their personal details, and checks carried out on vehicle registration plates.

Police investigation work in woodland on Intake Lane in Bickerstaffe.
(Image: Colin Lane/Liverpool Echo)

He added: “It seems to be a very significant search with a lot of officers going under the ground to look for something.

“There’s plenty of digging going on.

“I asked if a body had been found, but got no answers.

Police investigation work in woodland on Intake Lane in Bickerstaffe.
(Image: Colin Lane/Liverpool Echo)

“The area is close to the roadside and people living locally are talking about what on earth is going on.”

Wheelbarrows, spades and sieves to sift the soil are all being used by officers.

Police were asked if the operation is linked to a recent or historical investigation, but so far they have declined to comment.

The road is a popular route for drivers heading to the Rainford Bypass and is often used by farm workers in tractors.

Liverpool Echo – Liverpool News