Search for two Milk Carton Kids who vanished in 1996 resumes after tip-off

A search to find two missing schoolboys who became part of the 'Milk Carton Kids' 25 years ago has resumed following a "credible" new information came to light.

David Spencer, 13, and Patrick Warren, 11, disappeared from Chelmsley Wood in Solihull on Boxing Day in 1996.

The pair haven't been found since, but a new tip-off about the potential whereabouts of their remains has sparked a new search near a football ground, with hundreds of volunteers looking for them.

The boys were last seen at a petrol station in the town at 12.45am on December 27, 1996.

At the time, West Midlands Police initially thought they had run away from home after finding no evidence of foul play.

But new documentary In the Footsteps of Killers claims notorious child murderer Brain Field was spotted with the youngsters just days before they vanished.

David's brother Lee O'Toole, who was nine when his older sibling went missing, has joined the search for their bodies close to Damson Wood Lane, close to Solihull Moors FC's ground, after he received a tip-off after the Channel 4 programme aired.

"The community is doing what the police should do," Lee, now 33, told the Mail. "A man contacted me directly to say he had seen a man digging in a field in Damson Wood Lane, near Solihull Moors Football Club, at the time they disappeared.

"Apparently he's been telling the police for years and they've never acted on it. I don't know what more police need. They've left me no choice other than to put the shovel in the ground."

A member of the search team, who posted a video of the dig, added: "We have been tipped off, due to the documentary, someone has come forward and told us that this place cannot go unlooked.

"We're going to be here every single day. We are at the back of the 3G football pitch at Solihull Moors exactly at the halfway line. Everyone deserves justice. Please repost this. We need people to come here.. Bring your shovels and machinery. We need your help."

The boys became part of a group known as the Milk Carton Kids after police launched a campaign to find missing children by printing calls for information on milk containers.

However, officers still investigating the case have urged the search party to call off the dig.

"We recognise and sympathise with the strong sense of feeling surrounding the disappearance of Patrick Warren and David Spencer in 1996," a West Midlands Police spokesman said. "It's highly emotive for their families, friends and the wider community.

"We understand there are many frustrations and a lack of trust around our initial investigation and the many reviews we've carried out since.

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"We also know a group has been set up encouraging people to take matters into their own hands and dig at the back of a football ground in Damson Wood Lane.

"We'd urge people not to do this. Searching should be left to us and is based on areas of interest, we use trained specialist experts who are able to preserve any evidence that may be found.

"We're in touch with the Spencer family, and others, who are providing new information."

Several searches have already taken place near the football ground.

And in 2003, a 37-year-old man was arrested in connection with their disappearance, but he was released on bail without charge.

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Three years later, police revealed they were "closer than ever" to cracking the case, but, again, no one was charged.

Also in 2006, officers carried out a dig in a field in Damson Lane, but called the search off weeks later because they found no trace of the boys.

The same year, convicted killer and paedo Brian Field, who previously lived in Solihull, was quizzed by police about the case, but he denied any involvement in their disappearance.

In 2001, Field was jailed for life for raping and murdering schoolboy Roy Tutill, 14, in 1968.

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