by Alan Quick
A MAJOR search operation took place at Newton St Cyres, during the evening of Wednesday, March 8 and the following day, after 70-year-old man was reported as missing.
The man, who has since been named as Peter Giles and from Newton St Cyres, was said to have stopped his Landrover Discovery on the top of the river bridge over the River Creedy between The Beer Engine public house and Newton St Cyres village before leaving the scene.
A member of the public reported the man missing at about 7pm and a full-scale search involving all partner agencies was begun.
This included fire crews from Crediton, specialist Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue teams, Dartmoor Rescue teams, Ambulance crews, local Neighbourhood Police officers and specialist police and ambulance teams, including dog units.
The Devon and Cornwall Police helicopter was also involved in the search during Wednesday evening.
At 10.50pm the Exeter-based police helicopter crew confirmed it had been called up and had returned to base but that fellow police officers and other search specialists remained at the scene.
Divers and boats from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue and the Okehampton Division of the Dartmoor Rescue Group were used to search the river Creedy in the area during the night.
Roads were closed from Sweetham, towards Shobrooke and from the A377 at Newton St Cyres to the area near Newton St Cyres Recreation Ground.
The Landrover Discovery was not moved from its position atop the bridge while the search continued, resulting in no vehicle movements across the bridge.
Devon and Cornwall Police Sgt Emma Storey-Barrett, the Force Lost Person Search Manager, speaking to the “Crediton Courier” at the scene at midnight on Wednesday, said that the search was “still a negative”.
She added: “With our partner agencies we have conducted a water search as well as a land search in the area.
“A member of the public reported the vehicle parked on the bridge.
“We are searching to ascertain the welfare of the elderly gentleman.”
She thanked all those who had been involved in the search until that time and said it was anticipated that the search would resume in daylight.
More than 100 people were involved in the search operation during the evening.
After midnight the search was scaled down.
The search resumed fully the next morning and involved divers and boats from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue and the Ashburton Division of the Dartmoor Rescue Group.
Police officers and police dog units were also involved in the search near “ Newton Rec” as the “Courier” went to press.
Police say they are becoming increasingly concerned for the welfare of Mr Giles.
If anyone has seen this man very recently, they are asked to please call 999 immediately, otherwise call 101 with information, quoting log 717 of March 8.