A THOROUGH search of the Ramsbury woodland and pond connected to the Sian O’Callaghan murder inquiry is set to continue well into next week, police have said.

Around 25 to 30 officers from the Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT) continue to search in Ramsbury in relation to the murder investigation, after discovering new clues that may have significantly widened the inquiry.

A total of 60 scraps of women’s clothing were found buried 100 metres from the pond where the boots 22-year-old Sian was wearing the night she died were pulled from the murky waters, while a chunky knit jumper was found just yards away.

None of the clothing is thought to belong to Sian and it has been sent for forensic testing, which could take up to six weeks, although detectives are keeping an open mind as to why they were there and if they are even linked to the investigation.

The knife used in Sian’s killing has never been found, while several of the popular office worker’s personal items, including her phone, handbag and jewellery remain lost, although police hope these latest searches could recover them.

A water pump is still draining the pond so the silt can be searched by hand.

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: “Specialist search teams are carefully draining the pond so that fingertip searches can take place of the silt at the bottom. This meticulous process, which involves officers from across Wiltshire and Avon and Somerset Police, will continue over the weekend and into next week.

“The examination of items found at the location, including the shotgun and women’s clothing, is ongoing and likely to take six weeks.

“Hilldrop Lane will remain closed until the searches are complete. Diversions are in place.”

Office worker Sian was killed in March 2011 by mini-cab driver Chris Halliwell, 50, of Ashbury Avenue, Nythe, who was jailed for life for the killing in October 2012.

But a second charge for the murder of Becky Godden-Edwards was dropped due to breaches of police procedural rules by the then lead officer Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher.

The latest developments come after it was revealed Mr Fulcher had resigned from the force and new evidence was found in the Becky Godden-Edwards murder case at the field in Eastleach where she was buried.

Other ‘items of property’ are still being analysed from that discovery and, coupled with the latest finds in Ramsbury, the case has gathered pace in recent weeks giving Becky’s family hope in their fight for justice.