Police teams have been scouring the countryside near Spofforth as the search for missing man Graham Roskell enters its sixth day.
The 65-year-old grandfather, who is ill and confused, hasn’t been seen since he left Harrogate Hospital on Saturday morning.
Police dogs lost all trace of him on Sunday and now, as darkness draws in, officers are turning back to examine the route he is believed to have taken.
“Graham is a grandfather and his family want him home,” said Insp David Hall. “We need to find him as soon as possible.”
Specialist search dogs tracked him to Little Ribston on Sunday night, where the trail was lost. It is believed he is trying to find his way home to Kirk Hammerton.
Officers think that he walked from Harrogate Hospital, across the Stray to Leeds Road, down Alsford Bank and then took a footpath to the railway line, following it to Spofforth.
Search teams were examining the area around the old disused railway line in Spofforth today.
They believe the former police officer, who has survival training, may be camping out as the illness he is suffering from, which has caused confusion and disorientation, has made him afraid of being found.
“It may be that he is living rough,” said Insp Hall. “But he is on medication and we need to get him home urgently.
“We know that he has taken some food with him when he left the hospital, wrapped up in his dressing gown. We don’t know at this stage whether he has any access to money.”
Police colleagues, who worked with him when he was a beat officer in Kirk Deighton, are helping the search.
Specialist teams have been backed up by helicopter support who were out last night. Search dogs have been brought in, as have mountain rescue teams.
Tomorrow, underwater search teams are to start looking at the River Nidd, with waders, canoeists, and underwater divers.
“We are only searching the river as a matter of course,” said Insp Hall. “We are working on the assumption that he is still alive. We’ve got nothing to say otherwise.”