POLICE have admitted hopes are fading as the search continues for missing deputy headteacher Mark Bushnell.
The 50-year-old father of three, who is deputy head at the independent Durham School, disappeared on Sunday morning after he left the family home.
He had several bags of washing with him and was searching for a laundrette as the Bushnells’ washing machine was out of order.
He then drove to Blackhall Rocks near Peterlee where his car, a grey Citroen C3 was discovered early on Monday morning with the bags of washing still inside.
There has been no contact from Mark to anyone since that time and there has been no trace of a signal on his mobile phone.
Police have spoken to a number of people who saw Mark or spoke to him at the car park at Blackhall Rocks, including one witness who said they had seen a man matching his description in that area on Monday morning.
However, they admit that as time goes on hopes are fading of a positive outcome.
“There are further searches planned for today and into the weekend, although these will not be on the same scale as in previous days since the main areas have now been covered.
“We are keeping Mark’s family and his colleagues at the school up to date with everything we are doing and have reassured them that as soon as we have any news, we will be in touch with them straight away,” said Chief Insp Andy Huddleston.
“We have not given up hope but the reality is that as the days go on with no trace of Mark, the possibility of a positive outcome is obviously decreasing. I would stress again there is no criminal aspect to our enquiries and there is nothing to suggest anyone else has been involved in Mark’s disappearance,” he said.
Search teams are once again covering ground in the Crimdon Dene area and are being assisted by the Cleveland Harbour Police, who have been conducting sweeps of the coast between Redcar and Whitby.
Anyone with information which may help is asked to contact police on 101.