Extensive searches of woodland where North East teacher Mark Bushnell was last seen have failed to bring any vital clue to his whereabouts.
A week to the day the dad-of-three was last seen having left his home in search of a laundrette and rescue teams are no closer to finding any trace of him at the coastal spot where his car was found.
Following their initial searches days after the 50-year-old was reported missing volunteers with the Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team were back at Blackhall Rocks near Peterlee, County Durham, at the weekend.
The 30-strong team of rescue volunteers scoured the woodland areas looking for any sign Mr Bushnell, the respected deputy headteacher at the independent Durham School, had been there.
Following the final search yesterday morning Dave Bartles-Smith, from the Teesdale and Weardale Mountain Rescue Team, said: “Where we search next and what we do next is under constant review with the police.
“We had an extensive search operation on Saturday working with the Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team.
“We had 30 volunteers searching the area made up of woodlands and fields around the area where is car was found. That was a negative search.
“We were back the following morning with search dogs in the same areas of woodland. This too was a negative search.” Leaving his home in Durham City on March 9 Mr Bushnell, described as a devoted family man, told his wife Joanne he was going to search for a laundrette as their washing machine wasn’t working.
He then drove to Blackhall Rocks where his grey Citroen C3 was discovered early on March 10 with the bags of dirty laundry still inside.
There has been no contact from Mark to anyone since that time and there has been no trace of a signal on his mobile phone.
In the week-long hunt for Mr Bushnell coastguard boats have been searching the sea while British Transport Police officers have checked railway lines in the area.
Now after a week has passed, his family are said to be “realistic” about the prospect of finding him alive. Chief Insp Andy Huddleston said: “We have not given up hope but the reality is that as the days go on with no trace of Mark, the possibility of a positive outcome is obviously decreasing.”