23/04/2016 11:12 BST | Updated 24/04/2017 06:12 BST

New Police Appeal Over 1976 Disappearance Of Sandy Davidson, Three

A fresh push for information about a young child who vanished in 1976 has been launched in a bid to end the 40-year "limbo" his family has endured since he disappeared.

Three-year-old Sandy Davidson went missing from his grandmother's garden in the Bourtreehill area of Irvine, North Ayrshire, on April 23 that year.

He was playing at the home in St Kilda Street with his younger sister Donna, then aged two, when the family dog escaped from the garden.

The blonde boy is believed to have gone to look for the pet but never returned.

Despite an extensive search by the police and members of the community, there was no trace of Sandy and there have been no positive sightings of him since 1976.

Now, on the 40th anniversary of his disappearance, Police Scotland is renewing an appeal for any information which could help solve the mystery of what happened to the boy.

Detective Superintendent David Halliday, the senior investigating officer, said: "It's hard to imagine the distress and sadness Sandy's family have endured over the last 40 years, not knowing what has happened to their beloved son and brother, who was only a toddler when he went missing.

"Despite the passage of time, this missing person investigation remains open and I'd like to take this opportunity on the anniversary of Sandy's disappearance to ask people to cast their minds back to Friday April 23 1976. Did you live in Bourtreehill in Irvine, specifically around the area where Sandy was last seen in St Kilda Street?

"Friday April 23 1976 was a relatively warm day as Sandy played outside with his sister Donna. The community of Bourtreehill was tight-knit and mostly everyone knew their neighbour.

"Did you see Sandy when he left his grandmother's garden? He was quite a distinctive-looking child with light blonde hair and blue eyes."

Over the years, Donna has worked tirelessly in an attempt to trace Sandy and his whereabouts, and has led various campaigns.

Officers said they have been working closely with the charity Missing People to renew the appeal to find Sandy and will be publicising his images over digital billboards and online to try to raise awareness of his disappearance.

The charity's chief executive Jo Youle said: "To spend any length of time with a loved one missing is heartbreaking for a family desperate for news.

"Sandy's family have had to endure an unimaginable 40 years since Sandy disappeared.

"Everyone at the charity joins Police Scotland and the rest of the public in the hope that this new appeal will finally end the limbo that Sandy's family has been living in since the day he disappeared."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland on the 101 number.