England

'Missing' Northumberland hotel guest search cost £70k

Rescue helicopter Image copyright RAF Boulmer
Image caption The RAF helicopter's deployment cost a total of almost £70,000

The search for a man who disappeared from a hotel after giving a false name and information cost the taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds.

Staff at the Black Bull in Wooler, Northumberland, reported him missing on 15 January after he went cycling in the Cheviots but did not return.

The search was called off after it emerged the man, thought to be from Penrith, gave the hotel a fake name.

An RAF helicopter was deployed in the two-day hunt, costing almost £70,000.

The RAF base at Boulmer said the Sea King helicopter was involved for five and a half hours over the two days.

It cost just under £12,000 an hour for the crew, engineer and fuel.

Mountain rescue volunteers and police also took part in the search, much of which took place in gale-force winds.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said the force was still trying to trace the missing man.

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