Police have raided homes in Blenheim and seized computer equipment in connection with the disappearance of Nelson teenager Leo Lipp-Neighbours.
Detective Sergeant Mark Kaveney confirmed yesterday afternoon that investigators had searched three rental properties in Blenheim on Tuesday, last week.
Computer equipment, hard drives and DVDs were seized and would be forensically examined, Mr Kaveney said. People living at the homes would not be interviewed until it was known whether the equipment contained information useful to the police investigation, he said.
"We want to check emails, we want to check if anyone's been talking about Leo."
Police received tip-offs from the public about a month ago that people living at the houses raided might have been involved in the disappearance of Mr Lipp-Neighbours.
Mr Kaveney would not elaborate, but conceded the results of the raids were disappointing.
Police believe Mr Lipp-Neighbours, 19, a Canterbury University engineering student, last seen in Nelson in January 2010, fell victim to foul play. He and his distinctive orange car have never been found.
The inquiry changed tack in September after a case review.
New information led investigators to conclude his disappearance was not an accident. Police believe the most likely scenario is that he was killed after finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Mr Kaveney said police obtained search warrants for two properties on the grounds that the people living there were involved in Lipp-Neighbours' disappearance. Residents of another property allowed police to search their home voluntarily.
Police believed the people living at the homes were not known to Lipp-Neighbours, he said.
Cannabis was found growing at one of the properties.
Police were still receiving information from the public about Lipp-Neighbours which was "very pleasing". There were still sightings of his orange car that had to be checked. "I can't go into details until we've done that."
Meanwhile, a Blenheim man told the Express yesterday that eight police cars had turned up at his house last week and that officers had a warrant to search his house on suspicion of manslaughter or murder. Police were unable to confirm this.
The man said his laptop and cell phone were taken as evidence. He added that he had not been charged and that he had never heard of Mr Lipp-Neighbours.
- The Marlborough Express