THE review into North Yorkshire Police’s investigation into the disappearance of Claudia Lawrence has cost almost £400,000.

Operation Essence was launched in late 2013 with the aim of thoroughly looking into the original investigation into the York chef’s disappearance.

Claudia was 35 when she was last seen in March 2009, and the investigation into her disappearance – sparked when she failed to arrive for an early shift at the University of York – was soon upgraded to a murder investigation, despite a body never having been found.

No arrests were made under the initial investigation – called Operation Cabin – despite thousands of man hours and more than £750,000 in resources used in the searches.

A request made to North Yorkshire Police under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed that the cost of the review into the investigation has been £398,415 between its launch in 2013 to the end of January 2015.

The FOI request also revealed there were 20 staff dedicated to Operation Essence.

It said: “The review started in May 2013 with a small team, but then increased in October 2013 following the set-up of the Major Crime Unit. The number of staff working on the review does vary depending on the workloads involved.”

The request also showed there had been 1,486 written instructions carried out under the review, which has led to six arrests in less than 18 months.

The most recent events saw three men, all aged in their fifties and from the York area, arrested on April 23.

They were later released on police bail following interviews and a number of searches at properties in the Heworth area, close to Claudia’s home.

A York man, also in his fifties, remains on bail after he was arrested on suspicion of murder in March.