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Former Met Police detective Peter Bleksley says online speculation surrounding Jay Slater’s disappearance has helped to “drive forward” the investigation.

The 19-year-old, from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, disappeared after setting off to walk back to his accommodation on the holiday island on June 17.

His disappearance has sparked a deluge of online discourse which has been widely criticised, with even Bleksley saying a great deal of it has only served to hamper police endeavours.

But speaking on GB News, the ex-bobby said some of it has been useful as the investigation rapidly approaches its third week.

“I actually think I owe many people in the nation an apology”, said Bleksley.

“I’ve been very dismissive of much of the speculation, rumour and gossip that is featured on social media.

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“Some of it has been plain wicked and some of it has just been utterly unnecessary and unwelcome.

“But in many regards, certain aspects of Jay’s disappearance have been driven forward by the continued chat and actually some revelations from armchair detectives have turned out to really have some merit.”

Jay’s family have been able to raise nearly £50,000 as of Thursday on a GoFundMe page that they say will be used to support volunteers searching for the teen in the mountains near to where his last phone call was traced.

She said in a statement on the page: “We are currently looking after Paul Arnett, putting together a package of any equipment and essentials he needs and going up to do a drop for him.

“We are also supporting Callum Fahim and his group with accommodation and other essentials.”

She added: “We will continue to keep you all updated on the progress on our GoFundMe page, and we thank you for your continued support. Please keep sharing and supporting our fundraiser to help us bring Jay home.”

Tenerife’s Guardia Civil called off the search for the apprentice bricklayer after concerted attempts to track him down included the use of helicopters, drones and search dogs.

The search in the village of Masca, near his last-known location, took in a steep rocky area, including ravines, trails and paths.

Slater had attended the NRG music festival with two friends before his disappearance, and his last known location was the Rural de Teno Park in the north of the Canary Island – which was about an 11-hour walk from his accommodation.

He had travelled to an Airbnb in Masca and the two men said to have rented the property were later ruled “not relevant” to the case, according to reports.

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