Police have appealed to people in the Highlands to help find a missing man – as his anxious family said they believed he was still in the region.
Jason Gates, a 36-year-old from Portsmouth, had been on a holiday in the north before he was reported missing last Thursday.
He was staying in Aviemore with his treasured pet spaniel Max, but before his disappearance emerged last week, the dog was caught by police after it killed sheep while running loose.
They traced it back to Mr Gates using its microchip, but concerns began to grow when the accountant’s mud-splattered Audi Quattro was found in the centre of Drumnadrochit.
Police dogs and members of the RAF Mountain Rescue Team continued to search the area yesterday.
Searches have also been carried out at a hotel in Portsmouth and a property in Leicester, while a member of the public has reported seeing him on a train from Inverness to Perth.
Mr Gates’s father Malcolm believes he is still in the Highlands, however.
“We’re just waiting for something to happen. We’re just waiting around,” he said.
“My daughter (Alison Ware) is getting very upset. She is very close to her brother.
“It’s a nationwide search now, not just up there. But I think he’s still up in the Highlands because he wouldn’t just walk away from his car and his dog.
“We’re waiting to hear if he is using his credit cards. The police financial people are looking at that.”
Last night, Chief Inspector Jennifer MacDonald said: “Although no public searches are being organised at this time, we would like to thank the public for their support to date and would appeal to local residents in the area to check outbuildings, sheds and holiday homes in case Jason has taken shelter locally.
“Also, we know the area is popular with walkers and would ask that anything that may assist the search effort is reported to police, even if it seems insignificant.”
Mr Gates is described as being 6’3″ in height, of slim build, with short, cropped greying hair with facial stubble.
It is unknown what clothing he was wearing but he habitually wears black jeans, t-shirt and black padded jacket and tweed jacket and possibly walking boots.