A MAJOR police search for the missing British hiker Esther Dingley who disappeared in the Pyrenees in November failed to find any trace of her.

The 37-year-old last made contact with her partner Daniel Colegate from the top of the Pic de Sauvegarde mountain on the border between Spain and France on 22 November.

About 30 officers from specialised French and Spanish search teams began to look for the missing graduate on Thursday with the French police deploying a helicopter.

Mr Colegate, who has been carrying out his own searches at the lower levels of the Pyrenees, said he was “grateful they are continuing their searches”.

He has walked about 1,000km of the mountains in search of his partner since April.

A Spanish Civil Guard spokeswoman said about 20 officers had scoured the French side of the border, while ten Spanish officers conducted the search on the other side of the frontier but failed to find any sign of Dingley.

The police will continue sporadic searches for Dingley over the summer.

Both forces conducted extensive searches last November when Dingley first went missing as she walked from the Spanish side of the Pyrenees to France to meet Mr Colegate who was waiting in a house to meet her.

Dingley, who was travelling in the couple’s camper van, started her walk in the Spanish border town of Benasque on 21 November.

Her last message to Colegate was in a WhatsApp video call shortly after 16.00 GMT the following day and she planned to spend the night at Refuge Venasque.

Police have said they have considered all options including the possibility that she could have been kidnapped.

However, the Spanish Civil Guard said on Thursday their principle line of enquiry was now that Dingley had suffered an accident.

The search was called off in December due to heavy snow in the mountains.

The couple, who lived in Durham, gave up their jobs in 2014 and decided to travel around Europe.

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