VOLUNTEER diggers hunting for clues near Solihull Moors Football Club over two boys who went missing on Boxing Day in 1996 have been given a cash boost.
Friends David Spencer was aged just 13 and Patrick Warren 11 when they went missing from near their homes in Chelmsley Wood, later being dubbed ‘The Milk Carton Kids’ following a nationwide appeal.
The boys were never found and the police investigation to find them has come under fire in the decades since.
Following a social media appeal for help, volunteers turned up with shovels, diggers and food to help Lee O’Toole – the younger brother of David – dig a site he was tipped off about following a Channel 4 documentary on the boys.
Since then the scope of the site, and organisation of the dig have expanded.
A wellwisher, Ben Wellings, set up a Go Fund Me page to help the diggers get supplies and bring in specialist ‘cadaver’ dogs that can find human remains.
The page has raised almost £7,500 in just over a week.
Ben wrote on the page: “The boys are known as The Milk Carton Kids, as they were the first missing children to appear on the sides of milk cartons to raise awareness.
“We desperately want to get cadaver dogs that can find human remains to search the area, we have been assured they can detect people who have been passed this length of time.
“The police are not willing to search the area so we have had no choice but to do this ourselves.”
West Midlands Police said it is aware of the site where family members and local community are digging.
It added: “This location was assessed in 2006 and again more recently.
“We believe the digging is taking place after a witness, who we interviewed in 2001, 2006 and 2020, provided details to the family. We have assessed this information and our assessment is that it is not consistent with the known chronology of events.
“We have met with members of the family and people involved in the dig and we remain committed to working with the boy’s families.
“We recognise and sympathise with the strong sense of feeling surrounding the disappearance of Patrick and David.”
The force is also appealing to anyone who has information but has not yet spoken to the police to do so either online or by calling 101.