Police are no closer to knowing where the body of murdered schoolgirl Danielle Jones is as they concluded a search of a garage area, a senior officer said.

Officers dug up garage bases at a site in Stifford Clays, Thurrock, Essex, near the home where Danielle's killer once lived, believing her body may have been buried there for the past 16 years.

But after five days of "extensive searching" no trace of her was found and police concluded the search of the site on Friday.

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The 15-year-old was last seen on Monday June 18 2001 at around 8am, when she left her home in East Tilbury to catch the bus to school.

Her uncle Stuart Campbell was convicted of murder in December 2002 but her body has never been found.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Worron, head of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, defended the decision to search the site between Goddard Road and Crammavill Street.

He said it was a "credible line of inquiry" and followed information passed to the force in February.

"I completely stand by my decision to search this area," he said. "Not to search would have meant there would always have been a question mark over whether Danielle's body could have been buried here.

"I cannot begin to imagine how difficult this week has been for Danielle's family.

"Our activity here has reopened old wounds and thrust them in to the media spotlight again, 16 years after Danielle's disappearance.

"Sadly we have been unable to end the pain they have continued to experience and we are no closer to knowing where Danielle is.

"But we will continue to be there to support them as we have since Danielle went missing."

He said officers would review the case and determine whether there are any other "investigative avenues" for police to take to continue the search for Danielle.

"We will also continue to look at the reasons why this area did not form part of the original searches in 2001," he said.