A MAJOR police operation is underway in Broadgreen at a former home of convicted double murderer Christopher Halliwell.

Detectives and forensics officers have sealed off an alleyway behind Broad Street between Salisbury Street and Graham Street.

Scenes of crime officers began working yesterday afternoon and are believed to be digging in the back yards behind two of the houses.

A white tent has been erected at the scene and the alleyway has been sealed off to the public at both ends.

Last night security officers stood watch as members of the public returned home to find that their community had become the scene of a significant police investigation.

One resident said that officers were remaining tight-lipped about the nature of their enquiries but that they did acknowledge the operation related to a historical offence.

The work, centred on 96 Broad Street, is expected to last five days.

Detective Chief Inspector Jeremy Carter, who is leading the investigation, said: “Searches are being conducted in the gardens and garages of two properties in Broad Street over this coming week.

“Whilst we do not have plans, at this stage, to search inside the properties there will be some disruption to the occupants.

“I would like to make it clear that those living at the addresses have no involvement in the investigation and we thank them for their understanding and patience.

“Although we are unable to comment on the nature of our enquiries, we can say that we are acting on intelligence received.”

Superintendent Charlie Armstrong added: “We understand that this activity may cause concern for the local community and residents can expect to see a police cordon in place within the alleyways in Broad Street for the next five days.

“This should not impact upon other local residents. Officers will continue to patrol the vicinity and will be available for anyone who has any concerns relating to the searches.”

The police are not publicly drawing a link between the ongoing forensic operation and Halliwell, but records show that the convicted double-murderer lived at 96 Broad Street for four years between 1997 and 2001.

The 52-year-old former taxi driver is in prison for the murder of 20-year-old Becky Godden in January 2003 and 22-year-old Sian O’Callaghan in March 2011.

After his conviction for Miss Godden’s murder at Bristol Crown Court last September, a judge decided to impose a whole life tariff, meaning that Halliwell will never be released.

Speaking after the conclusion of the trial, Becky Godden's mother Karen Edwards said she believed that Halliwell was behind the murders of other missing women. 

But the Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, Mike Veale, cautioned against such speculation, citing the distress it was causing the families affected.