The police are investigating a website which has been set up in the name of missing Goodricke College chef Claudia Lawrence.
The site is being investigated after it was revealed that neither the North Yorkshire Police nor Miss Lawrence‘s family had any connections with it.
In a statement by North Yorkshire Police, the public have been strongly advised not to make donations.
The website has been registered under the name “Norbert Van Vaalsen”. It has details of a Dutch phone number and a London address, and is hosted in Germany. The website currently appears to be offline with the message “This site is down for maintenance. Please check back again soon.”
North Yorkshire Police said: “It has been brought to our attention that a website going under the name of claudialawrence.com has been set up which is asking for donations to the ‘Claudia Lawrence Appeal’. Please be aware that neither Claudia’s family or North Yorkshire Police have had any involvement with this website.”
North Yorkshire Police Press and Communications Officer Greig Tindall has commented that the police are continuing to make inquiries regarding the website and that the public will be kept updated.
Martin Dales, a close friend of the Claudia’s father, Peter, stated that “the family is not appealing for money.” He went on to add that “everyone is quite outraged that anyone could set this up without consulting the family. It is a distraction that we could do without when we need to concentrate on finding Claudia.”
An appeal for fresh information about Miss Lawrence’s whereabouts has also appeared on BBC’s Crimewatch programme this week. According to sources from the programme, the police investigation concerning her disappearance was the biggest in North Yorkshire for five years. The programme said that by 10pm on the evening of the broadcast it had received eight calls about the investigation.
One caller reported a possible sighting of Miss Lawrence’s rucksack and names were given of people who could know her of her location.
Police officers now believe that there is a high possibility of Miss Lawrence having disappeared the night before she was due to arrive at work, after it has emerged that she does not appear on any CCTV footage from her normal route.
Any students with information are urged to contact North Yorkshire Police on 0845 60 60 247.