Backpacker found safe

Tom Armstrong
Tom Armstrong

A HARTLEPOOL-BORN backpacker who went missing in Thailand has been found safe – and his delighted mum cannot wait to get him home.

Tom Armstrong (pictured) is now with his father, Kingsley Armstrong, in Bangkok, waiting to be given the go-ahead to fly back home to Britain following his disappearance last month.

Today his mum Helen Armstrong-Bland, 46, said she was “absolutely ecstatic”, but would not rest until he was on English soil.

The 46-year-old teacher said that she was still to find out what happened to her 22-year-old son and what he had meant when he emailed home saying he had “run into some trouble”.

She said: “Something’s happened to him and we need to get him home to get to the bottom of it.

“He looks ok, his dad is with him, and they’re meeting with the authorities there to sort a few things out and then hopefully he’ll be home in the next few days. I won’t rest until he’s home.”

Tom, a former Sacred Heart RC Primary School pupil, who lived in Hartlepool’s Hutton Avenue and Granville Avenue before his family moved south when he was aged seven, flew out to Thailand last April for a gap year on the island of Koh Tao, where he took a dive master course.

He kept in touch with his parents, who now live in Kelsale, Suffolk, by email and Facebook.

Concerns were raised though when he failed to board a flight home on January 9, despite paying for his tickets and telling his relatives about his return.