THE family of a missing South Tyneside walker today appealed for him to get in touch.
Richard Bennett, 44, from Hebburn, has not been seen since March 27, and his family and police are becoming increasingly worried.
He is 5ft 8 to 5ft 10 tall, of stocky build, and could possibly now have facial hair. He has a light mole on his left cheek and a prominent line between his eyebrows.
He may have been wearing a waterproof jacket, walking trousers, gaitors, walking boots and carrying a large Bergen rucksack.
Police are carrying out inquiries to trace him, and are asking for the public to help.
South Tyneside Temporary Superintendent Sav Patsalos, said: “It’s now been almost five weeks since Richard was last seen, and understandably his family are becoming increasingly concerned.
“We know he enjoys walking and often travels outside the force area, and we are working with other forces to help trace him.
“We’d urge Richard to get in contact, or anyone who sees him or knows where he is, so that his family can be reassured he is all right.”
A statement released by Mr Bennett’s family said: “We have no definite starting point for him, we only know he went walking with his golden Labrador on Thursday, March 27.
“His dog was found 10 days later in the Lemington area of Newcastle, but there no sign of Rick.
“We feel sure that someone, somewhere will have seem him and spoken to him, as he generally interacts with people he meets en route when walking.
“He is deaf in one ear and this would probably be apparent if you did talk to him.
“Please help us find him - study his photos and think back, did you see him with his Labrador in that first 10 days?
“Or have you seen him on his own since April 6, as he could be anywhere in the country by now?
“There’s little chance that he will see this so we really need the public’s help.
“If you think you’ve seen him or know of his whereabouts please let us know.
“Rick, all your friends and family need you home - we love and miss you so much.
“Please, please, get in touch and let us know that you’re safe and well. We really need to know.”
Mr Bennett, or anyone who sees him or believes they know where he is, is asked to get in contact with Northumbria Police on 101, so officers can ensure he is safe and well.