Underwater search experts from a private company will join the operation to find a two-year-old boy who fell into the River Soar, police have said.

A search was launched to find Xielo Maruziva after reports that the little boy, who was with family members, fell into the water on February 18 in Aylestone Meadows, close to Marsden Lane, Leicester.

Leicestershire Police have been supported by specialist diving teams from Nottinghamshire Police and Lincolnshire Police, and forces and search and rescue teams from across the region and country.

From Tuesday, experts from private company Specialist Group International (SGI), who were involved in the search for Nicola Bulley in the River Wyre in Lancashire last year, will join the operation after “further conversations with search specialists and Xielo’s family”.

Assistant Chief Constable Michaela Kerr said: “We continue to be grateful to the support we’ve been shown by the public and colleagues from other forces and agencies.

“We’re in regular contact with Xielo’s family and are continuing to support them in what remains a very upsetting time.

“Our search operation to locate Xielo continues to widen as we know he may have travelled further from where he went into the water, and potentially outside our force area.

“I would like to reassure you that our operation is continuing and our teams will be carrying out co-ordinated searches at various points along the river.”

She continued: “Our decision to involve SGI in the search (is) in liaison with Xielo’s family and having spoken to both the company and independent specialists.

“I’d also like to remind the public that the river is dangerous and that they should not go into the water themselves.”

The search for the boy is in its second week, with the focus on the stretch of river around Watermead Park and Birstall over the weekend, police said.

Xielo’s parents described their son as a “cheeky, funny” boy who is “a bundle of joy”.