Saturday, 4 January 2014

UK storms: Search resumes for missing Devon teenager

Harry MartinHarry Martin was going to take photographs of the stormy seas

The search has resumed for a teenager from Devon who went missing after going out to take photographs of stormy seas.

Harry Martin, 18, from Membland, Newton Ferrers, left his home at about noon on Thursday and was last seen walking towards a nearby coastal path.

He was reported missing on Friday, sparking an extensive search for him.

Police, coastguards, fire crews, local people and the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Group are involved in the resumed operation.

The teenager, who police said was a photography student, was last seen by his father leaving his home.

Police, the Plymouth lifeboat, coastguard teams and police and Royal Navy helicopters were involved in the initial stage of the operation to locate him. It was stood down after dusk on Friday.

Devon and Cornwall Police said they were “extremely concerned” as his disappearance was “out of character”.

Insp David Cuff, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said about 120 members of the public had volunteered to assist with the search on Saturday morning.

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

Elsewhere in Devon, nine flood warnings from the Environment Agency were still in place across the county on Saturday morning.

The warnings include the north and south Devon coasts, as well as tidal rivers such as the Torridge.

The Environment Agency warned people to be careful of large waves.

Devon and Cornwall Police said it was most concerned about the north Devon coast, particularly the Lynton and Lynmouth areas, where sea walls had been breached.

Missing man searchersPolice, fire teams and the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Group were part of the operation

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.

The Met Office has put out a yellow warning for more heavy rain on Saturday and Sunday, warning up to 30mm could fall in some places.

The Met Office said the recent spate of storms was the worst in the past 20 years and had been caused by a “really powerful” jet stream pushing a series of Atlantic depressions towards the UK.

On Friday, more than 35 residential and commercial properties were flooded around the county, with the worst affected areas being Lynmouth, Bideford, Bishops Tawton, Dartmouth and Salcombe.

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