MANCHESTER police have launched a murder investigation in relation to the disappearance of Martin Joyce, who went missing 17 years ago.
Mr Joyce, who would now be 45, was reported missing on September 7, 1999.
The second generation Irishman was last seen two days earlier on September 5 at the Bank of England Pub on Pollard Street, Ancoats in Manchester's inner city.
He was 29-years-old when he vanished and despite reported sightings, which officers later determined to be false, he has not since been seen.
Greater Manchester Police said today they are now treating his disappearance as a murder investigation and are appealing for anyone with information about what may have happened to get in touch.
As part of the investigation, which includes members of theNational Crime Agency, a search begun today at The Bank of England Pub today.
Senior Investigating Officer Bob Tonge of GMP’s Major Incident Support Unit, said: “We are following a number of lines of enquiry.
"Sadly, we are led to believe that Martin may not be alive and we have now launched a murder investigation.
“We have a team of highly skilled officers dedicated to the investigation and are working closely with the National Crime Agency to solve this case," he added.
SIO Tonge added that Mr Joyce’s family, who are desperate for answers, are being supported by specialist officers through this "extremely challenging time".
“We believe there may be some people in Manchester who have information about Martin’s disappearance and I’m urging anyone with information about what may have happened to him to contact police as soon as possible,” Officer Tonge added.
Mr Joyce, the son of Irish Traveller parents, disappeared after dropping his sister and brother off at a relative’s house in 1999.
In 2014, his sisters Bridget, Mary and Bernadette told the Manchester Evening News that they have "never forgotten him".
"We want him to know we have never forgotten him and until we’re both in our graves we will want to know where he is," Mary Joyce said.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 0161 856 4714 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.