POLICE have for the first time revealed a man who has been missing from home for more than two years has links to the criminal fraternity.
Hartlepool Police have also revealed they believe that Scott Fletcher may have come to some harm when he vanished on May 11, 2011.
Today Superintendent Jon Green, who is leading the investigation into his disappearance, said: “Scott was in some debt prior to his disappearance and was known to the criminal fraternity.
“We believe people may be withholding information from us because they don’t want to be seen to be disloyal to Scott, or because they are protecting someone else.
“While there is no information to say that he has come to some harm, there are certain aspects of his life that would lead us to believe that it’s a possibility.
“It’s another Christmas for Scott’s family without him. They are in agony with no information as to what has happened to him.”
Scott’s distraught mum Julie – who the Mail revealed last month faced a fight for life after the stress of her ordeal triggered a brain haemorrhage – spoke of her shock of learning after his disappearance that Scott was associating with criminals.
She agreed for police to reveal Scott’s movements in a last-ditch attempt to glean information on his whereabouts.
Julie, who lives on the Bishop Cuthbert estate, said: “We were absolutely shocked to find out who he was associated with, some of whom may appear respectable but aren’t.
“They are not the type of people this family associates with.
“They are the type of people who lead me to think as a mother, Scott may have come to some harm.
“I wish he could have told us and if we could have helped in any way, we would.”
Police say they are open-minded to the possibility Scott may have come to some harm.
While officers received some calls about his disappearance there has been nothing of significance to lead detectives to him.
Police officers have spoken to around 300 people as part of the case and have visited areas including Liverpool, Cumbria and Durham, where Scott has links.
A man believed to be Scott was last seen in the lay-by opposite the Jet garage on the A181 at Wheatley Hill, in East Durham.
Julie added: “I can’t explain the torture of not knowing where my son is. It’s like a dark cloud over us.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on the non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.