CAMERA crews from BBC’s Crimewatch programme have filmed a reconstruction of what police believe might have been the last sighting of York chef Claudia Lawrence.

The shoot took place last night on Melrosegate Bridge, at the spot where a passing cyclist saw a man standing with a woman fitting Claudia’s description at 5.35am on the morning she failed to turn up for work at 6am.

Actors were recruited from an agency to play the role of Claudia and the mystery man, in a reconstruction of what police are treating as a significant sighting – in the right place, at the right time.

The seven-strong Crimewatch team began filming shortly after 10pm – timed to recreate the dark, dimly lit street Claudia would have walked down on the morning she is believed to have disappeared.

The actress, who was about 5ft with dark blonde hair, wore slim-fitting jeans, a white T-shirt, an overcoat and white trainers – the outfit worn by the woman fitting Claudia’s description seen at the right time on her route to work. She stood by the steel railings outside a sub-power station, chatting to the mystery man, who wore a dark hooded top, with the hood pulled over his head, concealing his face, smoking a cigarette in his left hand, echoing what is believed to have been the last sighting of Claudia.

A team of four officers from North Yorkshire Police was on hand to clear the area and stop oncoming traffic between each of the ten takes, creating the impression of the dark, deserted street that Claudia would have been walking along on the morning of March 18.

A member of the production team played the part of the cyclist, wearing a bright orange overcoat and dark blue trousers, who saw a woman fitting Claudia’s description and the mystery man.

About 20 local residents and onlookers came out of their homes to watch on the sidelines as the production shot each take.

Crimestoppers have offered a £10,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for Claudia’s disappearance – but still nobody has come forward.

Alex Loughran, editor of Crimewatch, said: “Claudia’s disappearance is completely out of character and a total mystery.

“The police are seriously worried about her safety and have turned the investigation into a suspected murder inquiry. We’ve been working very closely with the police, and hope a reconstruction and exclusive interviews with Claudia’s family will encourage people who know anything to come forward.”

Filming for the programme will continue today, when Crimewatch presenter Rav Wilding is due to walk Claudia’s route from the University of York, where the 35-year-old works, to her home, in Heworth Road.

A helicopter will also be deployed to take aerial shots of the route.

Ms Loughran said: “We will be reconstructing Claudia’s last movements – her journey home from work on Wednesday, March 18, and the last text messages and phone calls she made on that night.

“We are also reconstructing the man and woman seen on Melrosegate Bridge the following morning in the hope that if it’s not Claudia, these people will come forward, or if it is Claudia, somebody might know who this man is.”

The 15-minute report on Claudia’s disappearance is due to be screened on Crimewatch on June 2, at 9pm, on BBC1.

Father welcomes TV coverage

Martin Dales, a friend and spokesman for Claudia’s father, Peter Lawrence, said: “I know Peter is very encouraged by the fact Crimewatch is in York making a reconstruction of certain aspects of the case relating to the disappearance of his daughter Claudia two months ago.

“He believes that, as she could now be anywhere in the UK or the world, the reach of a programme like Crimewatch can only assist in helping to solve this ever-lengthening mystery, which is causing her family and friends such distress.”

* If you have information to help the inquiry, phone North Yorkshire Police on 0845 60 60 247, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.