Five men have been arrested on suspicion of the murder of a teenager who went missing nearly 15 years ago.

Police investigating the disappearance of 16-year-old Damien Nettles on the Isle of Wight in 1996 detained the men ''in response to information about the case''.

Damien, of Woodvale Road, Gurnard, Isle of Wight, went missing on Saturday November 2 1996 after a night out with friends.

He has never been seen since, despite his family keeping the disappearance in the spotlight over the years.

A police spokesman said Hampshire Constabulary's major crime department is following leads established over the past year.

The five were arrested yesterday and are being questioned by detectives at a number of different police stations across the island and Hampshire.

They are a 44-year-old man from Cowes, Isle of Wight; a 48-year-old man from Sandown, Isle of Wight; a 37-year-old man from Ryde, Isle of Wight; a 50-year-old man from Newport, Isle of Wight; and a 39-year-old man from Gravesend, Kent.

Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Dave Powell said: ''Police remain determined to find and pursue leads in this unsolved missing person case.

''A dedicated team of officers from Hampshire Constabulary's major crime department have been working on information secured during inquiries over the past year.

''The Nettles family has displayed tremendous tenacity and courage in campaigning consistently to encourage witnesses and assistance from the community.

''There has been an intermittent flow of information since 1996, with people coming forward years after Damien's disappearance.

''This suggested there was always the possibility that members of the public had extra knowledge which could take the investigation forward.

''We also welcome the ongoing support of charities, professional partner agencies, local businesses, media organisations and the community in reinforcing awareness of the family's billboard campaign across the island over the past year.

''Although we have sufficient information to make arrests over an allegation of murder in 1996, detectives will keep an open mind about exactly what happened to Damien because a wide range of information has been received over the past 14 years.

''The body of Damien Nettles has not been located or identified at this time.''