Top cop joins hunt for missing man

A LEADING detective has been drafted in to lead the search for a dad who has been missing for a month.

The search for Hartlepool man Darren Waller, 36, is now into its fifth week with police saying they are taking the investigation “extremely seriously”.

Darren Waller

Darren Waller

Cleveland Police’s senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Gordon Lang, has set up an incident room at the Avenue Road police station, in Hartlepool.

Det Supt Lang, who works on high-profile cases within the force including being head of the murder investigation team, said: “Darren has now been missing for over a month and we are taking the investigation extremely seriously.

“We have had a number of unconfirmed sightings and information has been filtering through from members of the public.

“We have a dedicated team who are reacting to every piece of information that we get and who are also following police generated lines of enquiry.

Det Supt Gordon Laing

Det Supt Gordon Laing

“I have spoken with the family and know that they are desperate to see Darren home or at least know that he is safe and well.

“They are being supported by specially-trained family liaison officers and are being updated with how the enquiry is progressing.

“My message to Darren is ‘get in touch with your family or someone to let us know you are safe’. You are not in any trouble.”

Detectives stress that the case is still only a missing person inquiry.

They searched caravans in a storage facility in the Usworth Road area of town on Friday after reports that a man matching Darren’s description had been seen.

But a thorough search found no-one had been living there and Darren was nowhere to be seen.

The dad-of-three was last seen at around 5.30pm in the Rossmere area of town on Sunday, January 9, and was reported missing on the Wednesday.

He is described as 5ft 8in tall, white, with a shaved head and tattoos on his hands and arms.

He was last seen wearing a blue coloured sweater, dark blue jeans or bottoms and trainers and had an earring in his left ear.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Cleveland Police on (01642) 326326 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.