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Man quizzed in missing mum probe

POLICE have arrested a man over the disappearance of an Accrington mother who has been missing from home for over two weeks.

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WORRIED SICK: Three of Mrs Begum’s anxious daughters - Farina Begum, Samina Amin, and Neelam Sher.

POLICE have arrested a man over the disappearance of an Accrington mother who has been missing from home for over two weeks.

The 36-year-old, from the Manchester area, was yesterday being questioned at Accrington Police Station by detectives hunting for mum-of-six Zainab Begum.

A senior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Steve Brun-skill, has been brought in to take charge of the investigation.

Mrs Begum's home in Burnley Road, Accrington, was cordoned off last Friday as police carried out a detailed search of the property and it has been under police guard ever since.

It is understood that the force's helicopter has scanned the Coppice, though no detailed ground search has been carried out.

Police said they were "not ruling anything out" in the hunt for 56-year-old Mrs Begum, who vanished from her home on Tuesday 13 January, and they were still appealing for her to come forward.

Detective Inspector Jim Elston said yesterday: "I can confirm a man was arrested on Wednes-day in connection with the disappearance of Mrs Begum and he is currently in custody assisting us with our inquiries.

"But I want to stress that efforts to trace Mrs Begum's whereabouts are ongoing and we are still appealing to the public for their help.

"We are following some active lines of inquiry and with any investigation of this nature we have to be extremely thorough."

Samina Amin, one of Mrs Begum's six daughters, said she was now starting to fear for her mother's life.

The 31-year-old has been on television to appeal for her to get in touch and Hyndburn's MP Greg Pope has offered his support.

She added that two of her sisters - Zarina Akhtar, 19, a student at Preston College, and Neelam Sher, 14, a pupil at Moorhead High School, who both lived with their mother - have had to move in with her while the house is closed off.

She said: "My original fears are starting to resurface now. The police investigation seems to be going in that direction. I think it has become very serious and I am fearful for her life.

"The police are doing all they can and I have been driving round everywhere looking for her.

"We are getting into the third week now and all her family and friends are very worried.

"My younger sisters are crying all the time and Neelam hasn't been into school.

"It is devastating to think that we are not going to see her again."

Samina, who lives in Queens Road West, Accrington, with her husband Muhammad and sister Farina, 18, said that her mother had lived in Accrington for 23 years. Her two eldest daughters live in Manchester. She added: "She is a bubbly, kind and loving mum who has a lot of close friends in Accrington.

"I have no idea what could have happened but I can't imagine that anyone would want to hurt her.

"I just want her to get in touch and make sure she is safe. We all want her back here with us and if anyone knows anything, please come forward."

A spokesperson for Lancashire Police said: "We are now very concerned about her as we can't think of any good reason why she would choose to leave home.

"We have brought in the senior investigating officer to look through everything with a fine toothcomb and one of the things we have to consider is that a crime may well have been committed.

"The longer this goes on, the more we have to consider all the possibilities. We are not ruling anything out."