THE father of a Hartlepool-born student missing in Thailand has jetted out to the country in a desperate bid to find him.
Tom Armstrong flew out last April for a gap year on the island of Koh Tao, where he took a divemaster course.
But the 22-year-old has not made contact with his family since Sunday, January 6, when he said he would be flying home the following Tuesday.
Despite buying the tickets, Tom – who had regularly kept in touch with his family in Kelsale, Suffolk, by email and Facebook – did not board the flight and has not been heard from since.
Now his dad, Kingsley Armstrong, has flown to the capital Bangkok, where cash has been withdrawn from Tom’s account in the last week.
The engineer, a former Hartlepool Power Station worker, has taken three weeks off work and is staying in a hotel opposite the British Embassy.
There is CCTV footage from the cash point and Mr Armstrong is hoping to identify Tom and also put up posters around the city.
Tom’s mother, Helen Armstrong-Bland, 46, said: “We are not getting a lot of information back from the authorities so Kingsley has flown out there to meet with them and to check this CCTV footage.
“If he needs to come back then I will fly out there but we will play that by ear.
“We are desperate to get Tom home.”
The family, who have received help from other families that have gone through similar experiences, have also set up a fund via the Facebook page Missing Tom Armstrong to help with the search and any money raised would be used for flights for the family to Thailand.
Any money above and beyond Tom’s safe return will be donated to the registered charity, Missing Abroad.
Tom, who spent two years on a Btec engineering course at New College Durham, in Durham City, is a former Sacred Heart RC Primary School pupil and lived in Hutton Avenue and Granville Avenue until the age of seven before his family moved south.
Tom is 6ft 2ins, of medium build with fair, slightly wavy medium length hair and sometimes has a short beard, which is more red than fair.
Suffolk Police are working through Interpol and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with the Thai authorities to help with the investigation.
Anyone with information should call Suffolk Police on 101 of contact the Facebook page Missing Tom Armstrong.