Search goes on as fears grow for missing postie

ERNEST STEPHENSON. Missing Person

ERNEST STEPHENSON. Missing Person

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CONCERN is growing for the safety of a Galashiels postman who has been missing for over a week, writes Andrew Keddie.

Police yesterday launched a fresh appeal in an effort to trace 63-year-old Ernest Stephenson who was last seen near his home in the Balmoral area of the town in the early hours of last Wednesday.

Despite extensive searches by officers, assisted by a police helicopter, rescue dogs, the Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue team and members of the public, there has been no sign of Mr Stephenson.

“Since he was last seen, he has failed to make contact with family or friends, and concern is now growing for his safety,” said Chief Inspector Kenny Simpson, a senior member of the enquiry team.

When he was last seen, he was wearing a black fleece jacket, dark sweatshirt, green polo shirt, black jogging bottoms and grey caterpillar boots.

Mr Rutherford, who is also known as “Stevie” or “Derek” and suffers from mild diabetes, is 5ft 4ins tall, of medium build with blue eyes and a distinguishing scar on the right side of his neck. He speaks with a local accent and is well known in the town.

“It is out of character for Mr Stephenson not to return home or fail to make contact with family or friends, and we are eager to find him,” said CI Simpson.

“We would like to speak to anyone who was walking or driving in the Balmoral area or in the area of Galashiels known as the Gala Policies between 1.30 am and 6am last Wednesday.

“We would also like to hear from anyone in that area of the town with a private CCTV system to contact us.

“After talking to family and friends, we have been unable to establish any motive for his disappearance and, again, we would welcome any information regarding his state of mind.

“We do know he was a keen walker who frequently walked in the Selkirk, Melrose and Gattonside area, so we would ask local residents in these towns to also come forward if they have any information.”

Officers were due to continue their search yesterday in the woodland around Gala Hill.

Anyone with information is ask to contact police immediately on 01896 752222 or 01450 375051.