Stoke & Staffordshire

Missing runner John Lawton: Rescuers return to Greece

John Lawton and wife Lynda, pic courtesy of
Image caption John Lawton's wife Lynda says she is not expecting him to be found alive

Search and rescue volunteers have returned to Greece to help find a missing Cheshire runner.

John Lawton, 62, from Alsager, was last seen in an off-road race in April. The official search has been called off.

Organiser Joanne McClure said nine volunteers from Cheshire Search and Rescue have flown out for a second time to carry out a six-day search.

His wife Lynda said she knows her husband is not likely to be alive but hopes to be able to "bring him home".

Mr Lawton has not been seen since the latter stages of the Taygetos Challenge 2012 on 8 April after his name was ticked off at the fourth check point along the route.

Nearly £16,500 has been donated to an online campaign called Find John Lawton .

'Case still open'

Last month a team of 12 people from Cheshire Search and Rescue flew to Greece and members of Mr Lawton's club, Sandbach Striders Running Club, have also been out to try and help.

Rescuers said DNA results on discarded packets of energy gel found close to the fifth checkpoint indicated they were used by Mr Lawton.

Ms McClure said the team will be looking in areas around checkpoint five and six as well as the paths, tracks and trails from around the Pedino area into Kalives and Likaki.

Conservative MP for Congleton, Fiona Bruce, has said ministers should ask the Greek government to reconvene the search.

Foreign Office minister David Lidington said it was not for the UK government to instruct the Greek authorities.

Greek police have told Mrs Lawton the the case remains open.

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