POLICE searches for a shotgun used in the alleged murder of businessman Guy Hedger were unsuccessful.

Officers from Dorset Police’s marine section had been searching in the River Stour at West Parley since July 27.

A reward of up to £10,000 is being offered for information which leads investigators to the gun.

A spokesperson for Dorset Police said: "Searches concluded at the end of last week and nothing relevant to the murder investigation was found.

Mr Hedger, 61, was shot in the early hours of the morning on Sunday, April 30 at his home in Castlewood, St Ives.

Intruders allegedly broke into the property shortly before the shooting.

Mr Hedger was later pronounced dead shortly after arriving at hospital.

Kevin Downton, 40 and from Winterborne Stickland near Blandford, and 41-year-old Jason Baccus and 44-year-old Scott Keeping, both of Verney Close in Bournemouth, are all charged with murder.

The men will next appear before a judge at Winchester Crown Court on Friday, September 8.

Helen Cooper, who is also known as Helen Keeping, was charged with assisting an offender. She was due to appear at Winchester Crown Court last week.

A 39-year-old Bournemouth man and 45-year-old Poole man previously arrested in relation to the incident were released under investigation.