Detectives investigating the theft of a woman's body from a graveyard said they were " positive" about recovering the remains in dense woodland - although the first day's search produced no developments in the case.
A specialist team of about 100 officers combed several areas of the 90-acre Brakenhurst Woods, near Newchurch, Staffordshire, in the hunt for the body of Gladys Hammond.
Animal rights extremists claim to have hidden the 82-year-old's corpse, which was stolen from her final
resting place at St Peter's Church in the nearby village of Yoxall last October.
The pensioner's body is believed to have been targeted because her soninlaw runs a farm in Newchurch which breeds guinea pigs for medical research.
Last month, a group calling itself the Animal Rights Militia wrote to a number of local media organisations claiming that one-sixth of Mrs Hammond's remains were in a sealed plastic container buried two feet underground in the woods.
The search, which is expected to last until tomorrow, involves specialist ground-search teams.