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Hampshire police say they've had several new bits of information since announcing a £20,000 reward for information leading to the teenager being found.
Operation Ridgewood: Damien Nettles case update
Superintendent Dave Powell said:
''Police would like to thank the Nettles family, the media and the community for their response to our announcement last Thursday of a £20,000 reward for information leading to Damien being found.
''We're grateful for the considerable interest and support in our ongoing efforts to solve this case as the 16th anniversary of Damien's disappearance approaches. I share the Nettles family's belief that the answers are held by people on the island. Therefore, a genuine desire to help and co-operate from the community is crucial to any breakthrough.
''Police have received a number of pieces of information since the reward was announced last Thursday. Each piece of information must be assessed methodically. It?s vital to remember that the biggest challenge we still face is separating fact from fiction.
"We have spoken previously about the large amount of rumour and misinformation that surrounds this case. We do not want to make hasty premature judgements about the significance of information received as a result of the reward offer or any other enquiries we make.''
Additional CCTV from 1996
''The last confirmed sighting on surviving available CCTV is Damien in Yorkie?s fish and chip shop off Cowes High Street at 11.35pm on Saturday, November 2, 1996.
''We recognise concerns have been raised several times over the past 16 years about the handling of further CCTV footage that showed Damien?s movements in Cowes High Street after he left Yorkie's fish and chip shop.
"Damien's parents viewed this footage with police in 1996 and positively identified Damien on that CCTV camera at 12.02am on Sunday, November 3, 1996 walking to a bus stop and then back along the High Street eating his chips.
''This matter was included in a previous review of the case carried out by Hampshire Constabulary. This review confirmed that CCTV footage from Cowes High Street on the night of Damien's disappearance was lost by the police.
''We regret the loss of potential evidence in any investigation and have apologised to the Nettles family previously. This outcome was clearly disappointing and distressing for all involved. Experiences from our past are used to learn and improve, and detectives remain firmly focused on finding the ultimate answers to locate Damien, to provide answers for his family, and bring anyone responsible for a crime to justice.
"We continue to appeal for facts to confirm the most comprehensive account possible of Damien's movements and intentions on the night he disappeared. 352 witness statements have been taken to date since November 2, 1996."
At the time of his disappearance, the description of Damien was:
- Six foot three inches tall
- slim build
- short brown hair, shaved at the back
- brown eyes
He was last seen wearing:
- A black fleece jacket
- Dark blue jeans
- Black boots
Anyone with information about the Damien Nettles case can contact Hampshire Constabulary by phoning 101 and asking for the Major Investigation Team at Fratton police station in Portsmouth or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Mini-Com users can call 01962 875000. Information can be given anonymously by phoning the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.
Speculation about suspects
-Eight people were arrested on suspicion of murder during 2011. They were questioned and investigated over the course of a year and released with no further action and no charges.
-We would again ask all media and members of the public not to publish speculation about the identities of previous or potential suspects. Such speculation is likely to jeopardise lines of enquiries to find Damien.
-We continue to keep an open mind, but I stress again that speculation, gossip and the spreading of rumours won?t help the police and the Nettles family find the answers we seek in this investigation."
Police actions in this case to date include:
- Police have received at least 56 pieces of information since the 14th anniversary of Damien Nettles' disappearance on November 2, 2010.
- 1,085 people have been involved in the investigation (either as investigators, witnesses, or people of interest) since Damien Nettles disappeared on November 2, 1996.
- 352 witness statements have been taken to date since November 2, 1996.
- 2,440 documents have been reviewed and processed.