Fears are growing for the deputy headteacher of one of the region’s most prestigious schools after he went missing.
Officers were last night searching a North East beauty spot after a car belonging to Mark Bushnell, deputy head at Durham School was found there.
The 50-year-old was reported missing on Sunday and police say they are growing increasingly concerned for his welfare.
Mr Bushnell was last seen at 11.30am when he left his home in Durham City, driving a grey Citroen C3.
His car was found in the early hours of yesterday at a picnic site near to Blackhall Rocks, in Blackhall, near Hartlepool.
Last night Martin George, headmaster of Durham School, a private school for boys, said Mr Bushnell was a well-respected member of staff.
He said: “Mark is a highly respected colleague and friend at Durham School. As deputy head, he constantly works for the benefit of pupils.
“The whole school community is deeply concerned for his welfare and would urge him to contact his family as a matter of urgency. We would also ask any members of the public who may have seen Mark to contact police immediately.”
Police are appealing for anyone who has any information about Mr Bushnell to get in touch.
Chief Inspector Andy Huddleston said: “We are growing increasingly concerned for Mr Bushnell and need to trace him as soon as possible. Mr Bushnell is deputy head of Durham School and a well-respected member of staff.
“Anyone who may know of his whereabouts is asked to contact police as soon as possible.”
He is described as a white, around 5ft 10in, of slim build, with closely shaved grey hair. He was possibly wearing a checked shirt and brown or blue jeans.
Mr Bushnell attended Swansea University and after a year of working for the Bank of England he took time out to do a PGCE at Manchester University.
He started his teaching career at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, where he taught for two years, before joining Durham School as an economics teacher in September 1990.
He was appointed head of boarding in September 2009 and deputy head (pastoral) in July 2012.
Anyone with information on Mr Bushnell’s whereabouts or anyone who may have seen him is asked to contact police on 101.