Police say they have exhausted all possible leads in their search for a north-east pensioner who disappeared six months ago.
William Ritchie from Fraserburgh was reported missing by concerned neighbours in January, although his last known sighting was at the town’s Asda supermarket just days before Christmas.
The 90-year-old’s disappearance sparked a massive search operation around his home and on the walking routes he was known to use.
The abandoned railway line between Strichen and Fraserburgh and the Sandhaven harbour were all checked in the weeks after he vanished.
A police helicopter, dog teams and a dive unit were all involved in efforts to find Mr Ritchie, known as Bill.
Last night police said that more than six months on from the start of their searches the operation was now being wound up.
Detective inspector Stewart Drummond described the situation as “extremely frustrating” because they had been unable to trace Mr Ritchie.
He said: “I know that those who know Bill or even just recognise him to say hello have been anxious to know where he went, and it is extremely frustrating for us all not knowing exactly what has happened to him.
“We do know there were sightings of him in Fraserburgh in early January and our enquiries indicate that he was possibly unwell in the weeks leading up to his disappearance.
“His usual routine changed and he was described as looking frail and not as fit and agile as normal. Despite this he seems to have continued with his regular walks around the town, the shoreline and on rural routes.
“To maximise the use of our resources and time in any missing person inquiry we have focused our searches in areas led by the information and intelligence we have had available to us. Once our leads are exhausted it becomes impossible to know where to search next and inevitably our efforts have now been scaled back.
“Please be assured that we will continue to act on any new information that we receive and that the inquiry surrounding a missing person is never closed. It is not too late to get in touch with information if you think it could help and I would encourage you to get in touch by contacting police on 101.”
Mr Ritchie is described as being around 5ft 7in, of a slim build, with short grey hair.