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Hunt for missing midwife Samantha Eastwood moves to rural area

Ms Eastwood was last seen leaving work at the Royal Stoke Hospital on July 27.

Detectives investigating the disappearance of midwife Samantha Eastwood have been searching rural areas.

Specialist teams were combing for clues in fields next to a country lane in Caverswall, Staffordshire, on Saturday, with police calling for witness information on “suspicious” activity including vehicles parked in rural laybys.

Ms Eastwood, 28, was last seen in uniform leaving work at Royal Stoke Hospital at 7.45am eight days earlier on Friday July 27.

Dozens of officers and police dogs were scouring an area near Tickhill Lane, using large sticks to search bushes.

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Samantha Eastwood was last seen leaving work at Royal Stoke Hospital (Staffordshire Police/PA)

Nigel Potts, who owns neighbouring Newhill Farm, said he had witnessed a large police presence at a nearby disused quarry on Saturday morning.

“It seems that that’s where the main focus of the search is. They’ve been down here for three days,” the 53-year-old said.

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Police searching Tickhill Lane in Caverswall (Peter Byrne/PA)

He added that officers asked to view footage from his CCTV camera on the night the midwife disappeared, but his recordings did not go back that far.

Ms Eastwood’s colleagues raised concerns at 7.20pm on the same day she was last seen after she failed to show up for her next shift.

A 32-year-old Stoke-on-Trent man was arrested on suspicion of kidnap but has since been released under investigation, Staffordshire Police said.

The force said neighbours reported hearing a scream in the vicinity of Ms Eastwood’s house at about 2pm on the day she went missing.

Detective Superintendent Simon Duffy, from the force’s major and organised crime department, said: “Today’s extensive searches are part of the ongoing investigation, which has officers and staff working round the clock in an effort to find anything which brings us closer to finding Samantha.

“I am calling on any member of the public with any information, however small and insignificant it may seem.

“Have you seen any unusual or suspicious activity, including parked vehicles in laybys in rural locations around the Stoke-on-Trent/North Staffordshire area?”

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Gemma Eastwood flanked by Detective Superintendent Simon Duffy (right) and Family Liaison Officer Scott Bradbury, making an appeal at Staffordshire Police headquarters (PA)

Ms Eastwood’s sister, Gemma Eastwood, made a tearful appeal for help in tracing her on Friday, saying: “We miss you very much, we need you home where you belong.

“If she’s out there, or anyone knows where she is, please get in touch.

“Get her home.”

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