South East Wales

Search for missing Ben Caplan from Newport scaled back

Ben Caplan
Image caption Ben Caplan was last seen on a night out with friends in Caerleon on 7 December

The search for a missing newspaper worker from Newport is being scaled back, Gwent Police say.

Several reported sightings of Ben Caplan, 30, have been made since he disappeared almost three weeks ago, but none have been confirmed.

The South Wales Argus circulation department worker was last seen on 7 December at a pub in Caerleon.

Ch Insp Martyn Smith said it seemed "highly likely that he entered the river Usk on that night".

He said police had obtained CCTV images showing a person, believed to be Mr Caplan, heading in the direction of Caerleon Bridge at 23:45 GMT on 7 December.

"Whilst we don't see him entering the water, the CCTV does capture the water being disturbed," said the chief inspector.

Police officers have been working with colleagues from the air support unit and have been supported by the Severn Area Rescue Association (Sara) in making daily searches of the River Usk for the missing man.

Reported sightings included one in Cwmbran where a man matching Mr Caplan's description was seen getting into a green Mondeo car.

Bus posters

The South Wales Argus has also been active in the search for Mr Caplan.

Posters featuring a picture of Ben have been published on its website and the editor has appealed for information.

Newport Bus has displayed posters on some buses.

But Mr Smith said Gwent Police have now decided to scale back search efforts.

He added: "Ben's family, who have been kept informed throughout our search operation, have been notified and specialist liaison officers remain in close contact with them."

Although daily searches of the Usk will no long take place, Mr Smith said there would still be periodic searches over the coming weeks.

"I would like to thank the public and Ben's family, friends and work colleagues who have done their part in publicising Ben's disappearance and assisting us in our enquiries.

"Our thoughts remain with Ben's family at this no doubt difficult time."

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