POLICE say the possibility of a “positive outcome” in the search for a missing teacher is decreasing as the search goes into the fourth day.
Mark Bushnell, 50, has not been heard of since he left home on Sunday.
His Citroen C3 car was found abandoned at Blackhall Rocks early on Monday morning.
Yesterday the search shifted to the Crimdon Dene area, in particular the caravan park after a reported sighting of the dad-of-three.
Police leading the search say the sightings give fresh hope that he is alive.
The Cleveland Harbour Police have been conducting sweeps of the coast between Redcar and Whitby.
Mr Bushnell is deputy headteacher at Durham School and previously worked for Hartlepool Sixth Form College.
The father of three disappeared after he left the family home with several bags of washing to search for a laundrette as the Bushnells’ washing machine was out of order.
His car was found with the bags of washing still inside.
Police say there has been no contact from Mark to anyone since that time and there has been no trace of a signal on his mobile phone.
Officers have spoken to a number of people who saw Mark or spoke to him at the car park at Blackhall Rocks, including one witness who said they had seen a man matching his description in that area on Monday morning.
But, they admit that as time goes on hopes are fading of a positive outcome.
Chief Insp Andy Huddleston, of Durham Police, said: “There are further searches planned for today and into the weekend, although these will not be on the same scale as in previous days since the main areas have now been covered.
“We are keeping Mark’s family and his colleagues at the school up to date with everything we are doing and have reassured them that as soon as we have any news, we will be in touch with them straight away.”
He added: “We have not given up hope, but the reality is that as the days go on with no trace of Mark, the possibility of a positive outcome is obviously decreasing.
“I would stress again there is no criminal aspect to our enquiries and there is nothing to suggest anyone else has been involved in Mark’s disappearance.”
Anyone with information which may help is asked to contact police on 101.
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