POLICE officers have been searching vacant houses and back yards in the hunt for a dad-of-three who has been missing for almost seven weeks.
Hartlepool man Darren Waller has not been seen for 47 days after he vanished on January 9.
Officers had searched caravans and undergrowth in Crimdon, on the outskirts of Hartlepool, after a reported sighting but have now moved their activities back to the centre of town.
They have been going through empty houses and looking into back yards to see if the 36-year-old has set up home in a vacant property around Gray Street, in the Dyke House area of town.
It comes as his two concerned older brothers, Steven and Michael Waller, issue fresh appeals for Darren to get in touch.
Steven, 48, said: “Darren please come home or get in touch, your mother Kathleen is worried about you.
“If you don’t want to come home that’s fine, we just want to know you’re safe and well.”
Michael, 45, added: “Darren, you’re not in any trouble. If you come home the family will help you in any way we can.
“If anyone has any information that will help us to find Darren, then please contact the police.”
Detective Superintendent Gordon Lang, who is leading the investigation, is urging anyone who may have seen Darren or know anything about his disappearance to get in touch.
He said: “It’s clear from the comments made by Darren’s two brothers and other family members that there are people who are longing for his safe return and love him dearly.
“We are very concerned about Darren and are doing everything possible in order to find him safe and well.
“Darren was Hartlepool through and through and his friends and family live in the town. The focus of the investigation has always remained in the town, but reported sightings are taken extremely seriously.
“I would like to thank the member of the public for coming forward and would urge anyone else with information to get in touch.”
Darren is dad to Kayleigh, 16, Ellie, eight, and Leah, five, who live with his ex-wife Lisa Gleaves, 36, in Kells Grove, Hartlepool.
He was last seen in the Rossmere area of town at around 5.30pm on Sunday, January 9.
Darren, who lives in a flat in the town’s Alma Street, is 5ft 8ins-tall, white, with a shaved head and tattoos on his hands and arms.
When last seen, he was wearing a blue sweater, dark blue jeans or trousers and trainers, and had an earring in his left ear.
Anyone with information is asked to call police on (01642) 326326 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.