Incident 63/2014 – missing male at Blackleach Country Park

On Saturday 7th June 2014, a 36 year old male resident of Walkden, Worsley was reported missing from his home address.

Police enquiries and police search efforts resulted in Bolton MRT being requested to assist Greater Manchester Police in a search on Thursday 12th June at Clifton Country Park, Swinton with the aim of finding the missing male.

This location was linked to a possible sighting of the missing man which had been reported by a member of the public.

Following our search of this area, Police brought in the North West Police Search and Underwater Marine Unit to carry out further searches of the nearby lake area and River Irwell margins.

As time went on, GMP grew increasingly concerned to locate this missing man.

Yesterday we reported that GMP had contacted our Team Leader with a request to search a new area which was planned for today.

At 11:00 this morning, search and rescue assets from Bolton MRT, Rossendale & Pendle MRT, and Cheshire SRT joined Police Officers and PSCOs at the Information Centre car park at Blackleach Country Park, Walkden, Worsley, Manchester to undertake a large-scale search of this and the surrounding areas in a further attempt to locate the missing man.

Following a police briefing of their latest information and plotting of search areas, as 12:49 the first ground search parties commenced a search of the area.

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This search of Blackleach Country Park followed on from GMP search operations in the same area on Friday 20th June.

The search also involved our SAR Boat with team members Dave Marsh and Dave Cook who conducted a surface water search of Blackleach Reservoir and a bankside search of the Whittle Brook reservoir system.

Searches were also conducted by our Mountain Rescue trailing dog, and the Police helicopter NPAS 21 from City Airport Manchester (Barton).

Team member Michael Eddleston who in full-time employment is a GMP Inspector also provided support as a police liaison officer during this search operation.

The search covered an extensive area to the North and North-east of Walkden including Hilltop, Blackleach Country Park, Linnyshaw Moss and open land areas in the Whittle Brook area. Searches by team vehicles were also conducted of nearby streets, the graveyard of St. Paul’s Church, Walkden, and the outskirts of a large industrial estate.

This search found items which were confirmed as belonging to the missing man resulting in the focus of the search being centred around Linnyshaw Garden Centre area and the surrounding fields.

Whilst investigating some items located in this area, at circa 18:42 a GMP Police Officer found the missing man in this same general location. This Police Officer was joined within minutes by another Police Officer, a PCSO and Bolton MRT team member Steve O’Hara. The 36 year old man was in a very weak and disorientated state and was immediately taken to Royal Bolton Hospital by GMP for treatment for dehydration and sunburn.

Control and coordination of today’s search was conducted by our team, along with full catering support provided by Bolton MRT Support Group members Iain Clarkson, Laura Tunnicliffe and Dave Rees from our catering trailer.

The following resources were involved in today’s search operation:

  • Greater Manchester Police
    • One Police Missing Person Search Manager / POLSA
    • At least five PCSOs from Little Hulton police station
    • Divisional police officers
  • National Police Air Service
    • NPAS 21 from City Airport Manchester (Barton)
  • Rossendale & Pendle MRT
    • One Toyota Hilux Mountain Rescue response ambulance
    • 7 team callout list members
  • Cheshire Search & Rescue Team
    • One incident control vehicle
    • 21 team callout list members
    • One team support member (Ken, aged 85, thanks for your support today!)
  • Bolton MRT
    • Four team Land Rover Mountain Rescue ambulances
    • One team minibus
    • Team incident control vehicle
    • SAR Boat
    • Catering trailer unit
    • 23 team callout list members
    • One probationary team callout list member
    • 3 team Support Group members
  • SARDA (Wales);
    • Mountain Rescue Trailing Dog Handler Steve Nelson, Trailing Dog Boris and Navigator Elaine Gilliland (Both Steve and Elaine are also Bolton MRT members, and are included in the Bolton MRT figures shown)

The team would like to express its thanks to Salford MBC and the Friends Of Blackleach Country Park who kindly opened the information centre toilet facilities for our use during the search operation.

The successful conclusion of this search operation was possible due to the close links mutually enjoyed by Bolton MRT, Rossendale & Pendle MRT, Cheshire SRT and Greater Manchester Police.