73-year-old man missing in East Harling

Emma Knights A 73-year-old man with Alzheimers has gone missing in the East Harling area.Police are urging people who live in the village to check their outbuildings and gardens in case Raymond Powell has taken shelter there.

Emma Knights

Fears are growing for a 73-year-old clergyman with Alzheimer's who has gone missing in the East Harling area.

A major air and land search was launched today to find Raymond Powell, who lives in Roydon, near Diss.

He was reported missing from The Beeches care home in East Harling just after midnight today.

Insp Jerry Coates, from Norfolk Police, said Mr Powell had only been at the care home since Monday and was due to stay there for a week of respite care.

Supt Katie Elliott said: “Our priority is to find Mr Powell safe and well. I am appealing to all residents in East Harling to check their outbuildings and gardens as there is a possibility Mr Powell has taken shelter there.”

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Police officers initially concentrated their search in East Harling, with the search and rescue helicopter from RAF Wattisham being used to carry out a thermal image scan of the village in the early hours of today. The police helicopter has also been used to search all roads, train lines, riverbanks and footpaths within a four mile radius of East Harling.

A team of 20 police officers and 20 volunteers has been searching nearby woodland, and police are expecting the search to continue tomorrow.

Insp Coates said they were becoming increasingly concerned because of Mr Powell's medical conditions.

He said: “He suffers from Alzheimer's and he is also a diabetic.

“He normally has three insulin injections a day and the last time he had one was 5pm yesterday. His GP has raised concerns that his blood sugar level will be increasing and this could make him even more disorientated.”

It is feared Mr Powell may be weak, confused and incoherent, and may not even respond to his own name.

Mr Powell is described as white, 5ft 11ins tall and a medium build. He has light brown collar length hair with grey flecks and a grey beard, and is believed to be wearing a green jacket with beige trousers and brown shoes.

The police have released a picture of Mr Powell but have said it is not a recent picture - Mr Powell is now unshaven and has a grey beard.

A spokesman for The Beeches said the care home did not wish to comment.

Anyone who may have seen Mr Powell should contact Norfolk Police on 0845 456 4567.