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Police clear up Darlington woodland following discovery of a man's body
POLICE have allowed the public to return to woodland that was at the centre of a murder investigation after a body was found buried in a shallow grave.
For two weeks woodland near Jedburgh Drive, in the Branksome area of Darlington, had been cordoned off following the discovery of a man’s body - thought to be that of missing 25-year-old Alan Youngson.
To allow police and forensic teams working on the investigation to gather evidence, undergrowth and bushes were cut down, exposing a large amount of litter and waste.
The woodland was reopened today (Tuesday, October 22) and, to ensure the area is clean and safe for people to use, police officers took part in a litter pick with help from nearby residents, borough councillor, Jan Cossins, and Darlington Borough Council’s StreetScene team.
Graffiti has also been removed from a nearby bridge which runs under the A1(M).
Inspector Dave Barker, who took part in the litter pick, said: “The community is aware what has happened and we wanted to tidy it up and not leave it a mess.
“We have had to do slow, meticulous searches in relation to the investigation and the area is used by dog walkers and members of the public.
“It was not a nice incident and it would be nice to hand this back to the community and for them to use it as normal.
“I have been monitoring the tensions in the community and there is some bad feeling about it, but the community have all rallied around with messages of support.
“Volunteers have also come to help us today which is brilliant.”
A memorial has been set up in the woodland in memory of Mr Youngson, who had been missing from his Darlington home since August 15.
It is understood he moved to the town about five years ago from Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, and, among the flowers and trinkets was a Scottish flag covered in handwritten messages from friends and family.
One message left at the memorial read: “To my son, hope your soul is now at peace. Nobody can hurt you anymore son. Love you always and forever, Mum x”
Daniel Dodsworth, 28, of Branksome Green, Darlington, appeared at Teesside Crown Court on Wednesday, October 16 charged with the murder of Mr Youngson.
He was remanded in custody ahead of his next appearance on Friday, December 20.
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