Were you on Arran this time last year?
New plea in search for missing John
Police on Arran have made a new plea to visitors who may have visited the island a year ago.
It was exactly 12 months ago on Wednesday that 77-year-old John Smith of Machrie went missing in 2017, and despite intensive searches no sign of him has been found.
However, Police Scotland have vowed they will continue the search and on the first annivesary of his disappearance have issued a new plea.
Inspector Colin Convery told the Banner: ‘We are determined to continue our efforts in trying to find out where John is. The strain on his family during this time has been unrelenting and dealing with his disappearance has been extremely difficult for them. They are a close-knit family and not knowing what has happened to John is a heavy burden.
‘Arran is very popular with holidaymakers and it’s possible someone on holiday last year has come back this year. I am asking people to think back and consider if they saw or remember anything about John which would help in our inquiries.’
John, who was widely known as Smudger, was last seen by a neighbour, walking near to Machrie Golf Club around 6.10pm on Tuesday May 30, 2017. He was on the Machrie Moor Road at the cattle grid near his home and was heading towards the String Road.
On the day he went missing, John was heading towards a friend’s house in Shiskine but he never reached there and appeals for anyone who may have given him a lift or who saw him on Machrie Moor Road have proved negative.
His disappearance prompted a huge community response, with one senior police officer describing the search as one of the biggest he had ever seen in his 26 years in the force. Extensive enquiries have been carried out, with a number of specialist resources being used to try and locate him. Both Police Scotland and HM Coastguard’s helicopter have been used to search for John.
A number of land searches have been carried out by specially-trained search officers. The Force’s dog branch was also deployed with assistance from members of the Arran Mountain Rescue Team and a coastal search of the area on the west of the island was conducted by a team from the RNLI.
One week on from John’s disappearance, officers conducted a stop and speak operation in Machrie Road in an effort to jog people’s memory and gather any information which could help in locating John. Unfortunately, efforts to locate the pensioner have proved unsuccessful.
When last seen, John was wearing a dark coloured jacket, dark trousers, a woolly hat and brown hiking boots. He is around five feet, four inches in height, with a slim build, short grey hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion.
Anyone with information on John’s possible whereabouts is asked to contact officers at Lamlash/Irvine Police Station via 101 and quote incident number 4049 of May 30, 2017.
Missing John Smith.
The section of Machrie Moor Road where John was last seen.