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Excavation continues in new search for Simon Parkes

Photo by Gabriella Peralta.

Excavation works continued in a Town Range car park during the third day of the renewed search for young sailor Simon Parkes, who disappeared in Gibraltar over 30 years ago.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary on Wednesday provided no further updates to the search, which is being held in collaboration with the Royal Gibraltar Police.

The renewed search in the car park is being held due to new information provided to police by GBC journalist Ros Astengo, with Hampshire Constabulary following a potential further line of enquiry.

A generator has been running overnight at the site but a spokesman for the Constabulary told the Chronicle there had been no additional operational activity during the nighttime hours.

The generator is there to “ensure that the integrity of the scene was maintained overnight”, the spokesman said.

The search has seen nine officers from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary excavate the car park in a bid to find out what happened to Simon and locate his remains.

This follows previous extensive searches across areas in Gibraltar including the Upper Rock, South Barracks and tunnels, and Trafalgar Cemetery.

Previous searches have yielded no results, but the officers have remained hopeful for a breakthrough into the investigation of the cold case, called Operation Thornhill.

Simon served in the Royal Navy as a radio operator and docked in Gibraltar on board the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious.

He was just 18 at the time and was last seen leaving the Horseshoe Bar in Main Street on December 12, 1986.

Simon never made it back onboard HMS Illustrious and the ship returned home to Portsmouth for Christmas without him.

At first it was suspected he had gone AWOL and perhaps had travelled to Spain.

But when his passport, possessions and Christmas presents were found on the ship this was deemed unlikely.

He had been on a nine-month world tour on board HMS Illustrious, and was looking forward to coming home to his parents for Christmas.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary said investigations into his disappearance have so far failed to find answers for his parents.

Anyone with information about the disappearance of Simon can call the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary on 101, quoting Operation Thornhill, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

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