AN UNPRECEDENTED police operation is continuing in Winchester.

Officers have been searching a property in Battery Hill, Stanmore, for several weeks as part of Operation Coach, the investigation into the death of Gurinderjit Rai.

Mr Rai was found in a car in a remote layby on Shepherds Farm Lane, Corhampton, in the Meon Valley, on July 13.

Thirteen arrests, the most recent on Wednesday, have now been made by detectives probing the death of father-of-two who suffered gunshot wounds to the head and neck.

It is believed to be the highest number in a Winchester-centred murder enquiry in decades, if not ever.

Most recently, a 38-year-old man from Winchester was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder. He has been released but remains under investigation.

Last Saturday, detectives arrested a 51-year-old man from South Wales on the same allegation. He was released on bail, pending further enquiries.

It was unclear for how long the forensic investigation of the house and garden in Battery Hill will continue.

On Friday September 20, officers arrested a man, aged 66, and a 42-year-old man on suspicion of conspiracy to murder. On the previous day, a man, aged 20 had been arrested for the same offence. A 39-year-old man had been arrested on conspiracy to commit murder on Tuesday August 20.

All four, all from Winchester, have been given police bail, pending further enquiries. Seven other men had previously been arrested and released on police bail.

DI Roger Wood said: “This is a complex murder investigation and we would like to thank everyone who has contacted us so far. We are still appealing for people with information on what happened to call us.This can be done by calling 101, and quoting Operation Coach. Information, including dashcam footage, can also be sent via this link:

“Alternatively, people can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, where information can be left anonymously.”

As previously reported, Aston Hannis, 28, of Winchester, was jailed for 12 months after he refused to hand over the passcode to his phone to police as part of their investigation.

An inquest into Mr Rai’s death was opened in July. Acting area coroner Samantha Marsh said a postmortem found he died of “shotgun wounds to the head and neck”.

Ms Marsh adjourned the inquest to January 24 2020, although that date may change due to the ongoing police investigation.