Incident 72/2012

On Saturday evening, 6th October, our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE was contacted directly by a GMP Missing Person Search Manager, regards the teams assistance with an on going search enquiry to locate a missing twenty four year old man.

The search was to be mounted on Sunday 7th October, in the Boggart Hole Clough / Boggart Hole Park area of Blackley, Manchester, with our Team Leader informing GMP this being within the primary operational area of Oldham MRT.


Our Team Leader in agreement with GMP then liaised with Oldham MRT, who had been deployed to Machynlleth, as part of the large scale MRT operation to search for the missing five year old girl, April Jones.

Oldham MRT passed the search over to the Bolton MRT to deal with, should the search be confirmed.


On Sunday morning, 7th October, our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE liaised with a GMP Missing Person Search Manager, and the search operation was confirmed, with the team agreeing to meet at Boggart Hole Clough for circa 13.00hrs.

A request was made by our Team Leader to Peter Goble, Team Leader of Rossendale and Pendle MRT for his teams assistance with this search, but they were both deployed to Machynlleth, searching for April Jones, and also on a local standby rescue cover (Being called to an incident on this whilst Garry was talking to Peter!) and so could not assist us due to their on going commitments.


We then contacted Cheshire Search and Rescue Team, who were able to attend and assist.

Our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE also contacted Phil O’Brien, Team Leader of Bowland Pennine MRT requesting they be available to cover in turn for the Bolton MRTs area in case of further incident, as we would be fully committed to this search operation.

Arriving at Boggart Hole Clough, it was established that the male concerned, from a nearby property had been reported missing by a family member on 26th September 2012.

An on going Police investigation in to his disappearance led GMP to ultimately believe that he may be in the Boggart Hole Clough area, which consists of open grasslands, parkland, open and dense woodlands and a number of steep sided heavily vegetated ravines.

A joint GMP, Bolton MRT, Cheshire SART search operation commenced at just after 14.00hrs, with Bolton MRT coordinating the search operation, and also providing catering for the search (With thanks to Bolton MRT Support Group members Iain Clarkson, Laura Tunnicliffe and Julie Thompson for crewing our Catering Trailer)


Around mid afternoon, very sadly a body was discovered in Boggart Hole Clough / Boggart Hole Park, by a Cheshire SART search party, in the same vicinity our SARDA Trailing Dog had indicated upon as ‘an area of interest.’

The Cheshire SART members present (Three) immediately instigated forensic / scene of death protocols and established an inner cordon.


They were joined very quickly by a mixed Bolton MRT / Cheshire SART small party, and a GMP Officer, who further established an outer cordon.

All other search personnel were then recalled to the search RVP which had been established at the main car park to Boggart Hole Clough. (Thanks to the Parks Patrol Officer for opening the toilet facilities up for our use)

With the arrival of more Police Officers, the cordon was gradually handed over to the control of Police Officers, with the MRT / SART personnel on hold should we be required to evacuate the body.


Early in the evening, following Police investigations, we were then tasked with the evacuation of the mans body from the park to the waiting undertakers vehicle, with the evacuation being undertaken by a mixed Bolton MRT (9x) and Cheshire SART (1x) party, which was concluded at 18.45hrs.

By 19.16hrs all MRT / SART personnel had left the search RVP.


The sincere condolences of all Bolton MRT and Cheshire SART members involved in this tragic outcome search operation are expressed to the family and friends of the man involved.

The following resources were deployed to this search operation on scene;

  • Greater Manchester Police; 1x Missing Person Search Manager, Chief Superintendent, Inspector, Sergeant, two PCs, four PCSOs, three CID Officers, and two Mounted Officers.
  • Manchester City Council Incident Response Parks Patrol; One Officer and vehicle.
  • Bolton Mountain Rescue Team; Four Team Land Rover Ambulance vehicles, Team Minibus Ambulance, 3.5m Semi Rigid Inflatable SAR Boat (Which was to be deployed on the Park Lake along with Water Search and Rescue Personnel from our integral water team) Control Trailer, Catering Trailer. 28x Call Out list members, 3x Support Group members.
  • Cheshire Search and Rescue Team; Two Land Rover SAR Ambulance vehicles, one Control Vehicle, 14x Call Out list members.
  • SARDA (Wales); Search Dog Handler Steve Nelson (Bolton MRT – included also with the above figures) and Trailing Search Dog Boris.