HOPES of a breakthrough in a high profile murder investigation have been dashed after an anonymous tip-off failed to provide new leads.

The News can now reveal that in February, we received an unsigned letter, claiming to have information relating to the Natalie Putt case.

The mother-of-one from Gornal was 17 when she went missing in September 2003 - just 11 weeks after giving birth to her son Rhys.

Rivers, lakes and meadowland close to Natalie's home in Thornleigh, Lower Gornal, were extensively searched but last year, police - who are treating her disappearance as a murder inquiry - begun exhuming graves at Ruiton Cemetery in Upper Gornal but failed to turn up any fresh clues.

However the typed letter to the News, which was sent by second class post, claimed officers had been "looking in the wrong place for her body".

The author claimed to know who was responsible for the young mum's death, saying that they had been "boasting about it", adding: "This is not a hoax, it is information passed to me from a very reliable source."

According to the letter, the 'killer' had admitted to putting her body in a suitcase and taking her to Brierley Hill Cemetery by taxi, and putting her body in one of the mausoleums.

However Dudley Council, which runs the Addison Road burial ground, confirmed there were no such buildings at the site.

The letter and accompanying envelope were handed over to West Midlands Police's homicide review team, who sent it for forensic examination.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: "We have considered the contents of the letter and it has been forensically examined.

"We have concluded that it has not generated any further lines of enquiry.

"The investigation into the disappearance and murder of Natalie Putt continues."

A new plea has been put forward, urging anyone with information - no matter how insignificant they feel it might be - to contact the investigation team on 101.