DETECTIVES believe they could be near a breakthrough in their hunt for the killers of a 31-year-old heroin addict.

A specialist police team carried out a fingertip search of an area close to where the decomposed remains of father-of-two Darren Manders were found in woodland, half concealed under a pile of logs.

Cleveland Police say they are "one step closer" to catching his killer or killers.

Detective Superintendent Karnail Dulku, leading the murder hunt said: "This is a significant development. We have a number of specialist officers who will be examining a specific area of farmland.

"We believe that from the information we have received that we can make significant steps forward in tracing Darren's killer. At the present time, I cannot go into details of what we are looking for."

New information led police to focus on farmland at Morton Carr Lane, close to Starvation Clump plantation, off Stokesley Road, on the edge of Nunthorpe, where Mr Mander's bludgeoned body was discovered by a dog walker.

Mr Dulku said: "This is a new lead in the murder inquiry that has led us to a new location and I would appeal to anyone who may have seen someone acting suspiciously or a suspicious vehicle travelling in this area, on June 5 or early morning on June 6, to contact us."

Mr Manders was last seen alive in Bow Street, central Middlesbrough, where he shared a house with several others.

Anyone with information about the murder is asked to call detectives on (01642) 303188 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.