Incident 54/2012

At 11.41hrs this morning our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE was contacted directly by a Lancashire Constabulary Missing Person Search Manager, regarding the teams assistance in a search operation to locate Edward Sutton, aged 53, of Darwen, Lancashire.

Mr Sutton had not been seen since 15.30hrs on Saturday 28th July, when he left his Cloister Drive, Darwen, home to go for a walk.

Concerned friends contacted Lancashire Constabulary during the early hours of Sunday morning, 29th July to report him missing.

A Police operation to find him gathered momentum, with information received during Sunday, leading Lancashire Constabulary to switch the focus of their search from Darwen to the Darcy Lever area of Bolton within Greater Manchester.


By this morning, it was deemed necessary to consider specific search areas in Darcy Lever, Bolton, for which the assistance of our team was required.

After liaising with our Team Leader, Lancashire Constabulary further liaised with Greater Manchester Police, with GMP agreeing to Lancashire Constabulary Officers conducting a search in the GMP Force area, supported by Bolton MRT.

At 12.14hrs our Team Leader paged out placing the full team on standby, with the possibility of searches being required in the afternoon and evening.

At 15.23hrs our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE met with a Lancashire Constabulary Missing Person Search Manager at Leverhulme Park, Bolton, to discuss the search of some areas near to the park.

By this stage, team member Dave Marsh had already carried out searches of two specific small locations in connection with the overall search being considered.

A full team call out was paged at 16.53hrs for team members to meet at our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ at 18.20hrs for onward deployment to a search RVP at the car park to the Athletics Stadium at Leverhulme Park, on Long Lane, Darcy Lever, Bolton.

Shortly after 19.00hrs, the team assembled at the RVP, with specific areas identified to be searched, and groups of Bolton MRT members despatched to these areas.

Members of our Water Search and Rescue Unit, were deployed with our SAR Boat onto the River Tonge, from the A58 Bury Road, south to its confluence with Bradshaw Brook and thence onward downstream on the River Croal to exit the river near to Hacken Lane Cricket Ground.


Other members of our Water Search and Rescue Unit were deployed with a canoe, on the very shallow Bradshaw Brook from the A58 Bury Road, south to its confluence with the River Tonge and thence onward downstream on the River Croal to also exit the river near to Hacken Lane Cricket Ground.

A third group of team members were tasked with a search of the land immediately underneath the disused railway viaduct over the River Croal at Hag End Brow / Radcliffe Road, and a similar search at the Burnden Viaduct.

Lancashire Constabulary Officers (Operating in the GMP Force area) were tasked with searches around the Brodick Drive area of Breightmet.

All searches were completed by 22.00hrs with team members leaving the RVP shortly afterwards.

Police enquiries are continuing with regards to establishing the whereabouts of Edward Sutton.

The following resources were deployed to this evenings search operation;

  • Lancashire Constabulary ; One Missing Person Search Manager, and an Operational Support Unit (Seven Police Officers)
  • Bolton Mountain Rescue Team; Four Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulances, our Minibus, Control Trailer, 1x Canoe, and our 3.5m semi rigid inflatable SAR Boat. Twenty two team call out list members were involved in this incident.