Were you on Ar­ran this time last year?

New plea in search for miss­ing John

The Arran Banner - - Front Page -

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.

01_B22miss­ing02

The sec­tion of Machrie Moor Road where John was last seen.

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