Saturday, 4 January 2014

Search for missing Devon teenager Harry Martin called off

Harry MartinHarry Martin planned to take photographs of the stormy seas

The search for a Devon teenager who has not been seen since going out to take photographs of stormy seas has been called off for a second night.

Harry Martin, 18, from Membland, Newton Ferrers, left his home on Thursday.

More than 120 volunteers joined professional search and rescue teams on Saturday. A review will be conducted on Sunday morning to decide if the search should continue, coastguards said.

Further stormy weather is expected across many parts of England later.

‘Excellent local knowledge’

Mr Martin, who police said was a photography student, was last seen by his father leaving his home and walking towards a coastal path at about noon on Thursday.

He was reported missing on Friday, sparking an extensive search which was called off after dusk.

On Saturday morning, locals joined police, coastguards, fire crews and the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Group in the resumed operation.

Insp David Cuff, of Devon and Cornwall Police, confirmed about 120 members of the public had volunteered to assist.

RNLI lifeboat Cybil Mullen Glover

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The RNLI video illustrates the conditions a lifeboat faced while searching for missing teenager Harry Martin

He said: “A lot of them them have excellent local knowledge which is assisting us.”

Police said they were “extremely concerned” for his welfare as his disappearance was “out of character”.

Officers added that rescuers would still act on any sightings or other information received about him, even after the search was stood down.

In other developments in England:

  • The Environment Agency, which has issued about 100 flood warnings across England and Wales, warned the risk of flooding would continue throughout the weekend

  • The Thames Barrier was closed on Saturday afternoon to avert damage from the mid-afternoon tide

  • Residents in Chiswell and Portland in Dorset were evacuated ahead of high tide on Friday night

  • A man was rescued by police in Newquay after going into the sea in the early hours of Saturday

  • Police looking for a missing woman have begun to search a stretch of river near her home in the Hexham area of Northumberland. Janis Hall, 65, has not been seen for more than two weeks

  • Part of a cliff has collapsed into the sea on the East Sussex coast after being undermined by rough seas

The Environment Agency issued a severe flood warning – meaning “danger to life” – for Westbury, Broadoak and Newnham on the Severn Estuary in Gloucestershire on Saturday morning, but it was later stood down.

Severe flood warnings were also in place on the tidal Severn from Elmore to Rodley due to strong winds which could cause defences to be overtopped, and at Minsterworth and Quedgeley.

North Devon Council tweeted that part of a sea wall had collapsed behind Ilfracombe’s Landmark Theatre and the town’s bottom car park had been closed with the public being advised to stay away from that area.

In east Devon, Exmouth Town Council’s offices were open on Saturday morning so people could collect empty sandbags.

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