POLICE investigating the murder of estate agent Suzy Lamplugh more than 30 years ago have begun a search at a property in the West Midlands.

Miss Lamplugh disappeared in 1986 aged 25, having left her west London offices to meet a mystery client known only as Mr Kipper.

The Metropolitan Police on Tuesday confirmed officers were carrying out a search at a premises in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham.

The force refused to comment on "speculation surrounding the search", after The Sun reported the property used to be owned by the mother of prime suspect John Cannan.

John Cannan was jailed for life for the murder of Bristol newlywed Shirley Banks and the rape of a woman in Reading in 1989.

Nobody was convicted over her death but in 1994 she was officially declared dead, presumed murdered.

A Met spokesman said: "Officers from the Met are currently carrying out a search at a premises in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham.

"The search follows information received in relation to a historical unsolved investigation being led by the Met's Homicide and Major Crime Command."

The search is believed to be taking place in the garden of a home in Shipton Road.

Pictures showed a forensic tent set up in the rear of its garden.

The Met, which leads the search and is being supported by West Midlands Police officers, stressed that the current occupants of the property are in no way connected to the investigation.

Convicted killer Cannan was named as the prime suspect by police in 2002.

On the day of her disappearance, witnesses reported seeing Miss Lamplugh argue with a man outside a property in Shorrold Road, Fulham.

Three days earlier, Cannan had been released from a hostel at Wormwood Scrubs Prison, where he had been serving a six-year sentence for rape.

In 2002, claims were reported that Cannan had buried Miss Lamplugh's body under his mother's patio in the West Midlands.

A Scotland Yard spokesman at the time said the theory was "something we are currently considering", but did not confirm reports they planned to excavate the garden.

Cannan has been questioned several times over Miss Lamplugh's murder. He has denied the allegation.

Miss Lamplugh's parents, Paul and Diana, set up the Suzy Lamplugh Trust to support victims of stalking.

Both died before seeing their daughter's killer brought to justice.