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Friday, 25 July 2014

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Family's anguish as search continues for missing Cumbrian man

The family of a man who has been missing for three days have issued a desperate plea for his safe return.

Thomas McMorrow, 26, hasn’t been seen since Sunday night when he left a work party in Glenridding alone.

A major search operation was launched on Monday evening and continued late into last night. It was due to start again around 10.30am today.

Police dog handlers, mountain rescuers and specialist divers have been involved in the operation.

The search centred around Ullswater and the Inn on the Water where Thomas was last seen.

His parents, brother and friends of the family were at the picturesque scene yesterday anxiously waiting for any news.

Dad Fergus and mum Eulwyth told the News & Star it was completely out of character for their son to disappear without telling anyone.

They said: “We are really worried and every hour that passes the more worried we get.

“We are missing him so much and getting quite desperate.”

Thomas, a live-in chef at the George Hotel in Penrith, had left the work party on Sunday earlier than his colleagues.

The alarm was raised when he failed to turn up at work on Monday morning.

“He wouldn’t have just gone off without telling anyone,” Eulwyth said.

“Nothing like this has ever happened before. It just isn’t like him.”

Mr and Mrs McMorrow, along with another of their sons Liam, have also been searching the area without success.

Mr McMorrow said: “We have just been here to do anything we can – the more eyes there are the better.

“Tom is generally very friendly, very bright, hard working and sociable – he will talk to anyone.

“If I could see him now I would just throw my arms around him, it would be a huge relief.”

The couple also praised the efforts of all the rescue teams and urged anyone who may have seen their son to come forward.

“We are very grateful for everything everyone is doing,” they added.

“If anyone has seen anything at all or can help in any way please let us know – it’s hard to describe just how worried we are.”

Specially trained divers from the North West Police Underwater Search and Marine Unit travelled up from Runcorn in Cheshire to scour the lake around the jetty yesterday afternoon.

But they had not found anything by the evening and the search is set to continue today.

Sergeant Paul Brown, of the Carlisle-based Tactical Support Unit, is heading up the investigation and said officers and mountain rescuers would now be widening their search.

He said: “We have already searched a two-mile area either side of the Inn on the Water and will be starting to move further down the valley.

“We will also concentrate on other lines of inquiry, such as speaking to friends and colleagues, to firm up Thomas’s last movements.

“I would like to emphasise the hard work being done by police officers and the mountain rescuers in appalling conditions.

“The weather has made it a more drawn out operation and we have had to re-search areas to double check them.

“A great deal of hard work has been going on behind the scenes too.”

Thomas is about 5ft 11ins tall, slim, with short brown hair which is receding at the front.

He was wearing blue denim trousers, a long-sleeved white shirt and brown shoes at the time of his disappearance.

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