Appeal to passengers

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BUS, taxi and train users are being urged to join in the search for a missing dad-of-three who vanished almost five weeks ago.

A team of 25 police officers investigating the disappearance of Hartlepool man Darren Waller are turning to drivers and passengers of public transport to help find him.

It is now 34 days since the 36-year-old was last seen and the missing person inquiry is said to be being treated “extremely seriously” as all reported sightings have been unconfirmed.

He did not hold a driving licence when he went missing and police don’t believe that he has access to a car, so officers believe he may have used public methods to travel in and around the town.

Officers have also been speaking to taxi and bus drivers in the town to urge them to get in touch if they see anything during their day-to-day business.

The investigation is being led by Detective Superintendent Gordon Lang, the force senior investigating officer who is head of its murder investigation team.

Det Supt Lang, who explained his involvement is due to his knowledge of Hartlepool and not his serious crimes experience, said: “Residents of Hartlepool and beyond have been extremely helpful and understand the key aim of this investigation is to locate Darren safe and well.

“I would ask them again to take another look at his photo. Darren may have used public transport to travel around the area and I am particularly appealing to residents who use public transport to get in touch if they may have seen him, or do see him.”

The focus of the investigation is still in the Hartlepool area, however train passengers from out of the area are also being asked to come forward should they think they may have seen Darren, who lived in a flat in Alma Street, Hartlepool.

Darren, who is dad to Kayleigh, 16, Ellie, eight, and Leah, five, was last seen at around 5.30pm on Sunday, January 9, at his mum’s home in Burnaby Close, on the town’s Foggy Furze estate.

He was reported missing on Wednesday, January 12, after his ex-wife, who remained good friends with Darren following their split, became concerned as he had not used their joint bank account and did not want to see the kids over the weekend.

He is described as 5ft 8in tall, white, with a shaved head and tattoos on his hands and arms.

He was last seen wearing a blue coloured sweater, dark blue jeans or bottoms and trainers and had an earring in his left ear.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Cleveland Police on (01642) 326326 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

People can also find out about the investigation by visiting www.facebook.com/clevelandpolice or www.twitter.com/clevelandpolice