UPDATE - The search continues for missing man James Middleton
We are carrying out further searches of the Ashtead common area today (22 January), as part of our ongoing efforts to find missing man James ‘Jim’ Middleton.
Jim was reported missing on 2 July 2017 after he left his home address and was last seen travelling towards the Ashtead common on his light blue TGA Breeze 4 scooter. He failed to return home.
Jim is described as white, 70 years old, approximately 5ft 6” tall, of large build, with short brown -greying hair. He was wearing a dark coloured body warmer, dark grey shorts, with white socks and blue trainers.
Multiple searches were undertaken at the time of Jim’s disappearance, both by the police and the local community.
Further searches of Ashtead common and the surrounding area are being carried out due to seasonal changes, with vegetation on the common being less dense at this time of year.
Specialist search trained police officers will be deployed along with Surrey Search and Rescue volunteers, and other specialist units. The search is expected to take three weeks.
Jim’s family and the local community routinely undertake their own organised searches for him and we are very grateful for this continued support.
However, we ask that if anyone finds anything suspicious, including a blue scooter, please do not approach but call Surrey Police immediately on 101, or 999 in an emergency, quoting reference PR/45170070694.
Alternatively call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Surrey Police officers investigating the disappearance of James Middleton on July 2 completed their search of Ashtead Common and Epsom Common on Sunday 16 July, and now are concentrating their investigations elsewhere.
Since he was last seen heading towards the Stew Ponds and Christ Church Area at lunchtime on July 2, police have thoroughly searched the common using the police helicopter (including infrared camera), police drone, search officers, trail bikes, boats and specially trained search dogs.
The search has received a huge boost from the work of the Surrey Search and Rescue volunteers (who have also deployed their own dogs and drone) and members of the local community who have scoured the common and shared leaflets and posters across the area.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Preston, who is leading the investigation, said:
"Despite all the search activity, there have been no confirmed sightings of James since he went missing, so officers are now concentrating their search on a wider area. Each of the possible sightings that has been reported to police is being revisited and CCTV from the wider area is also being re-examined.
Mr Middleton, and his mobility scooter would be very distinctive and I am surprised that we have not had any positive sightings since he went missing.
Today I want to be clear that the search for Mr Middleton is not over, and I want to reiterate that we have declared an amnesty on the mobility scooter. This means that anyone who may have found it thinking it had been abandoned can come forward without fear of prosecution. Our priority is finding out what has happened to Mr Middleton, and finding his mobility scooter would be a vital lead."
Anyone with information is asked to call Surrey Police immediately on 101.