Gloucester cafe search for suspected Fred West victim could cost taxpayer more than £70,000

Gloucester cafe search for suspected Fred West victim could cost taxpayer more than £70,000
Police confirm no human remains found during excavation work at The Clean Plate where 15-year-old waitress worked

Excavation work at a cafe in the hunt for a potential Fred West victim could cost taxpayers more than £70,000, police have revealed.

Gloucestershire Constabulary began the dig at The Clean Plate cafe in Gloucester last week in the search for missing teenager Mary Bastholm after receiving information from a documentary crew that human remains could be buried in the cellar.

However, police on Thursday confirmed no human remains or items of significance had been found as part of the investigation.

Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden also revealed the cost of the work could potentially rise to more than £70,000.

He told reporters: “As it stands, I believe the overall cost to date is about £50,000. We haven’t got all the invoices in, so it may well be that cost rises potentially to £60-£70,000.

“What that doesn’t include is the reparation costs, because as part of the activity that we’ve undertaken we’ve discovered there may be things which are of archaeological significance.”

He said he did not think there was any “legal basis” to seek costs from the TV production company who tipped police off about the site, adding: “Although, as a gesture of goodwill, if they were prepared to provide something then that’d be something we’d need to discuss with them and, of course, the cafe owners.”

Fred and wife Rose West tortured, raped and murdered an unknown number of women over a 20-year period.

Police continue to excavate a cafe in Gloucester in the search for Mary Bastholm, who worked there as a waitress before she went missing in the city in 1968

Mary, 15, who was last seen alive in Gloucester in January 1968, worked as a waitress at the cafe, which was then called the Pop-In.

Her disappearance was at a time when builder West was abducting girls in the city.

He is said to have confessed to killing Mary in conversation with his son, Stephen, but never admitted it to police.

Mary’s body was not found during the 1994 excavation of the Wests’ home, now known as the “House of Horrors”, on Cromwell Street in Gloucester.

Her family said they were “still very sad” her body was not recovered during the Clean Plate cafe excavation, but continue to “hold out some hope that one day Mary will be found”.

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 a life sentence.

Additional reporting by PA