POLICE say a “significant” possible sighting of missing deputy headteacher Mark Bushnell has given them fresh hope he is still alive.
The 50-year-old dad-of-three has not been seen since Sunday morning.
His grey Citroen C3 car was later found at Blackhall Rocks but there was no trace of him.
Police say a member of the public has contacted them on Wednesday to report seeing a man fitting Mark’s description at 8am on Monday at Crimdon Caravan Park, on the outskirts of Hartlepool.
Someone matching his description is said to have been seen near a seaside information sign close to the north of the caravan park.
The caravan park has been searched and residents have been spoken to, but the deputy headmaster of Durham School was not found.
During a press conference at the caravan park on Wednesday, Chief Inspector Andy Huddleston, of Durham Police, said there had been numerous reports of potential sightings of Mr Bushnell, including from as away as Aberdeen.
But he said three significant leads had led police to concentrate their efforts on the caravan park, including one at 8am yesterday.
He said: “We are satisfied we have been able to negate many of the other sightings.
“However we have had three separate reports of possible sightings of Mark in the area where we are now. “Members of the public have contacted us after seeing it in the news. “Two of those sightings were on Sunday afternoon.
“One most significant possible sighting was at 8am on Monday, near the information sign. “That then increases the likelihood that Mark may still be alive and for that reason we have concentrating our search and making a re-newed appeal on the back of this information.”
Cleveland Police Marine Unit and the Police Air Support Unit are also helping with the search along the coast and the police continue to appeal for help in finding Mark.
Anyone who thinks they may have seen Mr Bushnell since 11.30am on Sunday morning should call police on 101.