POLICE searching for the body of missing schoolgirl Moira Anderson have identified five areas of interest following the search of a canal.

A full scientific examination of Monkland Canal at a site at Carnbroe, North Lanarkshire, has been carried out by Police Scotland.

Detectives say the four-day operation in the 3.5m deep water resulted in five distinct areas of "anomalies" being identified by specialist teams.

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Eleven-year-old Moira disappeared after leaving her grandmother’s house in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, on February 23, 1957, to buy margarine from the nearby Co-op. She never returned and was reported missing later that night. She was last seen boarding a Baxter’s bus.

A police spokesman said: “Over the last four days, ground-penetrating radar, sonar scanning and magnetometry have been used to identify anomalies within the water and silt layer of the canal.

“The conclusion of this first scoping phase has resulted in five distinct areas of anomalies being identified by specialist resources.”

Among those who have been involved in the operation are soil forensics experts and representatives from the National Crime Agency, as well as human identification and anatomy professionals.

The second phase of the search begins on Monday, with divers from Police Scotland’s Marine Unit conducting a search of the identified areas.

What was then Strathclyde Police worked with the Crown Office and procurator fiscal to investigate the girl’s disappearance and Police Scotland have taken on the job of examining any new evidence.

This led to the site, which is 170m long and 15m wide, at Monkland Canal, being identified for a search. The team were joined by leading experts including soil forensic expert Professor Lorna Dawson and forensic anthropologist Professor Sue Black.

Geo-forensics expert Prof Alastair Ruffell, as well as a national search advisor from the National Crime Agency and representatives of the Home Office’s applied sciences and technology department, have also worked on the operation.

Baxter’s bus driver and convicted paedophile Alexander Gartshore, who died in 2006, is suspected of Moira Anderson’s murder.