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Advert van used in hunt for killer

Police are using a TV advert van to help search for a convicted child killer who absconded from prison.

West Mercia Police have been searching for Alan Giles, 56, since he left HMP Hewell in Redditch, Worcestershire, at about 11am on Monday.

It is thought he could be living rough and detectives said they are continuing to follow up on possible sightings of Giles across the South Warwickshire area.

A police spokesman said a large TV advertisement van had been sent out on to the streets in the area to make sure as many people as possible know about the search.

Giles, originally from the Oldbury area of the West Midlands, was given a 19-year tariff for the 1995 kidnap and murder of teenager Kevin Ricketts.

The 16-year-old victim's body was not found until 1998, after Giles asked to speak to detectives from West Midlands Police while serving his sentence.

West Mercia Police said a photo of Giles is displayed on a large TV screen on the back of the advert van - which is around 10 metres wide - with all the information the public need to know about him and what they should do if they see him.

The van will be driven around the streets of Alcester, Inkberrow, Studley and Wixsford throughout the course of the day in the hope that someone who may have vital information about Giles's whereabouts sees the appeal and calls the police.

Police are also visiting caravan sites and making further house-to-house inquiries in their attempts to locate him.

Specialist search teams, including dogs and the police helicopter, continue to be used in the manhunt.

Detective Inspector Leighton Harding said: "We are very grateful to the public for their help so far with our investigation and are continuing to follow-up on a number of sightings of Giles in the South Warwickshire area that have been reported to us.

"We believe the ad van may help us reach people who have not picked up our previous media appeals and hopefully one of these people will call in with the vital information that leads to Giles's return to prison.

"If anyone spots Giles we would ask that they call us immediately so that we can respond to the call straight away - any delay in contacting us, even if it's just to take a little time to get home, may mean we lose the opportunity to capture Giles if it is actually him who has been spotted.

"Please do not approach him, call us on 999 or 101 as soon as possible."

Giles is described as a white man, 5ft 9in, with short, grey hair and blue eyes.

He has a tattoo of an eagle on his back and other tattoos of a flower, shark and swallow on his left arm.

When he left prison he was wearing a grey Rockport sweater, blue jeans and white Asics trainers.

Mr Harding added: "We still believe Giles could be sleeping rough in woodland or farm buildings and we would appeal to dog walkers, farmers, gamekeepers and others to keep their eyes peeled and stay alert."

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