A meticulous hunt for a missing man in a field off the M53 has been called off.
Specialist police officers had hoped to find answers in the search for Steven Preston.
Steven has not been seen since 1992, but a tip off suggested he may have been murdered and taken to a plot of land in Eastham.
Merseyside Police set up a search probe near the motorway's junction 5 in several fields off New Chester Road on March 27.
Despite tens of thousands of holes being dug in the space of a week, nothing has been found, the Liverpool Echo reports.
The area examined by the search party is now open land, but at the time one of the fields was home to stables and a paddock.
The last person known to have seen Steven was his mum, Isobel, who he waved to from his bedroom window on the morning of September 18, 1992.
He is then thought to have left his home in Heath Road, Bebington, with no jacket and without his prescribed medication.
Five days later his worried mum reported him as a missing person, with inquiries to find him continuing ever since.
Isobel has since died but, appealing for help last week, Steven’s sister Jane, said: “He was a gentle, kind and funny lad. He didn’t have a nasty bone in him. He was my friend. He adored my mum and it destroyed her when he disappeared. She knew instantly that he wouldn’t of just left and never contact her again and that something awful must have happened to him.
“After all this time has passed if anyone knows anything or heard anything at the time, no matter how insignificant if they could come forward it could help us find some answers.”
The search for Steven, a former pupil of Brackenwood infants then New Chester secondary, was sparked by a tip-off that led investigators to the fields in Eastham.
The operation was stood down on Tuesday, however.
Appealing for information last week, Superintendent Ian Hassall said: “I would appeal to anyone who has any information about Steven’s disappearance to contact us. Information they have could be vital.
“The question still remains, where is Steven Preston? A young man in his 20s doesn’t just leave home and vanish into thin air. Somebody, somewhere must know where he is, or what happened to him, and I would urge them to contact us as soon as possible.”
Anyone with information about Steven’s disappearance is asked to contact Merseyside Police on 0151 777 8663, or the Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.