POLICE in England have begun exhuming a family grave in the search for the remains of a schoolgirl who vanished almost 56 years ago.
Moira Anderson was 11 when she went missing from her home in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, in February 1957 while running an errand for her grandmother.
It is widely believed that she was abducted and murdered, but her body has never been found.
The case remains unsolved, although convicted paedophile Alexander Gartshore, a Coatbridge bus driver who died in 2006, has been connected with the disappearance.
Today, investigators began excavating the plot of Sinclair Upton, said to have been an acquaintance of Gartshore, to see if the schoolgirl's remains were hidden there.
The excavation at Old Monkland Cemetery in Coatbridge is being led by Professor Sue Black and a team from the forensic anthropology department at Dundee University.
Police believe the burial plot has three layers and there may be up to eight people interred there.
Chief Inspector Kenny McLeod, of Strathclyde Police, said: "There may be no necessity to exhume all eight human remains but that does remain a possibility.
"The site does present significant problems and challenges, not only in terms of ground conditions but also record-keeping as you can imagine, going back to 1908, it may not detail every person in the burial plot."
Officers expect to be on the site for the next few days and Prof Black will be in a better position tomorrow to provide a timescale, Mr McLeod said.