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Police search for remains at former Jersey children’s home

Police on Jersey in the Channel Islands were yesterday searching an underground chamber of a former children's home which is the focus of allegations of systematic abuse.
Former residents of the home at Haut de la Garenne have alleged they were locked up, drugged and systematically abused in cellars under the building.
Police dug into the first cellar on Wednesday and have discovered a second bricked-up chamber which they are trying to enter. Neither of the rooms appear on site plans of the building.
The dog, which is trained to detect human remains, barked at an area next to an object attached to the floor of the first cellar, but police refused to reveal what the item was.
Police said the room had been filled with rubble and dust and would take several days to search.
The child abuse investigation at Haut de la Garenne involves more than 160 victims over a 40-year period.
Search teams found a child's skull and remains at the site on Saturday. They are being analysed in Britain.
Deputy chief police officer Lenny Harper said what had been discovered in the first chamber was in line with some of the evidence from alleged victims, although he denied that shackles were found.
He said: "The initial look at what is in there certainly corroborates some of the victims."
A builder who helped to transform the then dilapidated home into a youth hostel four years ago said workmen discovered a trapdoor leading down to a windowless room in which a single chair and shackles remained.
Harper said: "There is another room of the same size that appears to have been bricked up.
"Some of the bricking up appears suspicious but there could be an innocent explanation for it."
Police believe both cellars measure about 12 feet by 12 feet (3.7 metres by 3.7 metres).
There are now more than 200 alleged victims and witnesses in the investigation.
Police have received more than 70 calls since the human remains were discovered, with Harper saying that many only came forward after they had seen others do so because they feared the repercussions.
The investigation extends as far as Australia and Thailand, where witness statements have been taken.
The island's former health and social services minister has claimed he was sacked from Jersey's governing council because he tried to expose "systematic" abuse of children.
The case has shattered the beach-fringed British crown dependency which was once a mainly agricultural island and a holiday destination but has become an international offshore banking centre.

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