THE mum of a missing Washington man has made an emotional plea to the public to help find him.
Dad-of-two Richard Bennett has not been seen since March 27.
The 44-year-old keen outdoorsman is known to have gone for a walk with his golden Labrador, Sam, six weeks ago.
His dog was found in Lemington, in Newcastle, on April 6, but there is still no sign of Richard.
Richard, known by his pals as Rick, was said to be going through a difficult time emotionally and financially. He has also been suffering vertigo and his family fear for his health.
Mum Susan Ellison, 68, of Washington, where Richard is originally from, said: “He could be anywhere. We’re all desperate with worry and we’re just hoping for any sort of news or a sighting. We’ve got nothing to go on because we don’t know where he was going.
“It’s six weeks since he went missing.
“The whole family loves him very much and we just want to find him. We’re begging the public to help us.”
Richard, most recently of Lumley Court in Hebburn, had worked in the military for four years.
Working with heavy weapons damaged his hearing, leaving him deaf in his right ear, which caused vertigo.
Despite applying for up to 18 jobs a week, Richard has been unable to find employment and has been out of work for some time.
His mum added: “He loves the outdoor life and he loves going off walking. He always talks to people he sees when he’s out walking so someone must have seen him.
“We were devastated when his dog showed up because Sam is his pride and joy.
“He wouldn’t be without him so when the dog came back we started to get really worried that it was serious.
“We’re just hoping someone will have seen him and we’re begging someone to come forward.
“He could be anywhere between John O’Groats and Land’s End.
“We’re all beside ourselves with worry, all of his family and friends, we love him very much. We just want to know he’s safe.”
Richard is described as 5ft 8in to 5ft 10in tall and stocky. Police say he might now have facial hair. He has a light-coloured mole on his left cheek and a prominent line between his eyebrows.
He may have been wearing a waterproof jacket, walking trousers, gaitors, walking boots and carrying a large Bergen rucksack.
Richard’s family say it is out of character for him to disappear like this and they are particularly concerned that he does not have his mobile phone with him and is believed not to have any money.
Anyone who may have seen Richard is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 498 090414.