POLICE have been searching an area of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal in Blackburn as part of a murder inquiry.

Officers were searching the waterway at the section close to the junction of Bolton Road and Infirmary Road, this morning as part of an investigation into the hit-and-run death of Blackburn mother-of-one Alison McBlain.

A police spokesman said the search was in relation to evidence-gathering as part of that murder investigation.

A probe was launched after Miss McBlain and Christian Rivers were struck by a car which mounted the pavement at 7.45pm on November 19 on King Street, Blackburn, at the junction with Pearson Street.

Miss McBlain died of her injuries two days later.

Six people have already been charged in connection with the investigation.

Joshua Titterington, 26, of Scotland Bank Terrace, Blackburn; Dean Tarim Qayum, 20, of Patterdale Avenue, Blackburn; a 16-year-old boy, Kaylib Connolly, 18, of Ivy Street, Blackburn; Paul Chatwood, 25, of Walsh Street, Blackburn; Karis Poynton, 27, of Whalley Road, Clayton-le-Moors, have already denied murdering Ms McBlain and attempting to murder Mr Rivers. They will stand trial on May 26.

The incident is said to be related to a drug deal.

Barrister Ian Unsworth QC said both Ms McBlain and Mr Rivers were “skittled over” and the deceased was carried some distance after being struck.

Mr Unsworth said: “Struck as she was Ms McBlain didn’t stand a chance, Mr Rivers was extremely fortunate not to have been more seriously injured.”