A SEARCH operation at a remote pond in Ramsbury has been scaled back as one murder victim’s mum hopes detectives have made the breakthrough she’s been waiting for.

A flurry of activity at the end of last week saw police pull two boots Sian O’Callaghan was wearing the night she died in March 2011, and a single-barrelled shotgun from a tiny pond a few miles outside the small village, near Marlborough. It came as the man who led the initial investigation was revealed to have quit Wiltshire Police.

A team of 25 to 30 officers, including divers from Avon and Somerset Police and cadaver dogs from South Wales Police, were dispatched to the scene after lead investigator Detective Chief Inspector Sean Memory made the find along with a colleague last week.

But the Adver understands the divers were set to conclude their work yesterday without making any further finds, although officers and dogs continued to scour the woodland along Hilldrop Lane for any traces of human remains.

A police spokesman yesterday confirmed forensic tests on the shotgun recovered from the pond would now take place, while any serial number on the rusted weapon would be run through the police database of licensed gunholders.

She said: “The shotgun will have to be sent away for analysis and if it has serial numbers, we will be checking on our database. We are keeping an open mind as to whether it is connected to the enquiry.

“Nothing else has been recovered since Friday. The searches will continue, although the divers were due to finish their work yesterday.”

The developments come after former Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher resigned from his position at the force. It followed disciplinary proceedings that found him guilty of misconduct for ignoring force orders and breaching the Police and Criminal Evidence Act when questioning Sian’s killer Christopher Halliwell, of Nythe.

His actions meant a second charge of murder against the mini-cab driver, 50, for the killing of Becky Godden-Edwards was withdrawn after a judge ruled vital evidence inadmissible.

Her mum Karen Edwards, 52, said she now hoped the latest twist in the long-running investigation into her daughter’s death could be light at the end of the tunnel.

She said: “I’m shocked – everything seemed to have moved so fast. I don’t know what to make of what’s going on in Ramsbury, and this shotgun.

“Sean has picked up where Steve left off and is doing the things Steve never got a chance to do because he was suspended. I’m hoping this might be the final chapter.”

Anyone with any information that could be of interest to the enquiry should contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously.