Search begins for missing Tina Satchwell after 'credible information about movement of specific people'
- Gardaí focusing on 40-acre woodland area in Castlemartyr, Co Cork
- First major operation undertaken outside the greater Youghal area where Tina Satchwell was last seen
- Gardaí set up major coordination centre at the search site
- Search dogs from UK enlisted to assist in the search for missing Tina
Gardaí are beginning a major forest and moorland search for missing woman Tina Satchwell after they received "reliable and credible information" regarding the movement of specific people in the area.
The searches, in advance of the first anniversary of Tina's disappearance, represent the first major operation undertaken outside the greater Youghal area where Ms Satchwell (45) was last seen on March 20, 2017.
A property was searched by gardaí in the east Cork town last year - and underwater searches were conducted in Youghal Bay.
Garda sources say that the Castlemartyr area is being searched after they received the information "which pertains to the movements of specific individuals in the vicinity of the woods".
They have enlisted search dogs from the UK to assist in the search for missing Tina.
There is approximately 250 acres of woodland and scrubland in the area, but gardaí are focusing their search on an area of 40 acres.
This morning, an articulated lorry delivered steel fencing to the site.
Over 150 metres of steel fencing is now being erected at the scene, while generators, lighting and portable toilets are also being set up.
More than a dozen gardaí were at the scene as a portacabin, which will serve as a search coordination centre, was set up.
A special garda communications vehicle that will play a key role in coordinating the search is also at the scene.
Meanwhile, officers hit out at rumours which circulated over recent days in connection with the case, saying they were "unhelpful and potentially very upsetting".
Gardaí received numerous phone calls on the basis of the rumours and social media speculation. The calls came at the height of the Garda response to Storm Emma when dozens of east Cork communities were cut off by snow and ice.
"To say it was unhelpful is putting it very mildly," one senior garda said.
The searches are expected to take place over the next week once weather conditions ease.
It is understood the searches were planned for late February but had to be rescheduled because of the heavy snowfalls. Ms Satchwell's husband Richard is adamant that she left home to deal with personal issues.
She did not have a passport, and a painstaking trawl of CCTV footage from Irish and UK ports and airports has yielded no clue as to her whereabouts or movements. She was reported missing by her husband after he had initially suspected she had gone to stay with family members in the Fermoy area.
Mr Satchwell also said he believes someone helped his wife with her disappearance - and he claimed €26,000 was missing from the family home.
However, he is adamant he does not believe that his wife is dead. The couple were 26 years married last November.
"She is my daylight - she has been my life since meeting her, even before I spoke to her."
Mr Satchwell has insisted he had nothing to do with her disappearance. "My wife is going to turn back up or she is going to get in touch with the gardaí.
"One way or another this will all come out and, in time, it will [be shown] that I have done nothing," he has previously said.