Search for missing Hugo Palmer and Erwan Ferrieux scaled back

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A split image of Hugo Palmer and Erwan FerrieuxImage source, NSW POLICE
Image caption,
Hugo Palmer (left) and Erwan Ferrieux are still missing, Australian police say

An air and sea search for a British tourist and his friend missing in Australia has been scaled back.

Items belonging to Hugo Palmer, from East Sussex, and Erwan Ferrieux, a French national, were found on Shelly Beach, near Sydney, on Monday morning.

The men, both 20, who had attended the same school in East Grinstead, had been travelling together along the New South Wales coast.

Officials in Australia said land searches for the men would continue.

A New South Wales Police spokesman said: "Based on advice from experts, police have scaled back the air and sea search, but sweeps of the coastline and foreshore will continue over the coming days."

It is believed Mr Palmer, from Forrest Row, and Mr Ferrieux had arrived in Australia in November and had been in the Port Macquarie area since Sunday.

The men's hire car was found near the beach.

Earlier on Wednesday, Insp Peter Neville said he still had hope of finding the two men alive.

"This whole operation is about locating and rescuing these young men. From some of the discussions I've had this morning we honestly believe these people could well be alive," he told the Port Macquarie News.

"At the moment this is strictly a rescue mission."