NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Search 'stepped up' for missing 88-year-old Orkney man

James Mainland Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Police fear James Mainland may hide from members of the public

Police in Orkney say they are stepping up the search for an 88-year-old missing man.

James Mainland left his home address in Birsay at 06:30 on Saturday morning.

He suffers from dementia and there is concern he will hide from members of the public and may be aggressive if approached by people he does not know.

It is understood the man left his home at around 06:30 on Saturday and was reported missing after he failed to return.

Police are asking local people to check their garages and outhouses in case he has taken shelter somewhere.

A visible police presence was expected in Birsay throughout the day as extensive searches continued.

Police are investigating a possible sighting at around 17:30 on Saturday in the Midhouse area near the Barony hotel, on the north shore of the Boardhouse Loch.

This is an unconfirmed report from a member of the public who had spoken to an angler and now officers are trying to trace the angler.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Police are searching around Boardhouse Loch

Ch Insp Matthew Webb, who is leading the search, said: "We are currently trying to establish if this was indeed Mr Mainland and would encourage anyone else with other potential sightings over the last 24 hours to please get in touch as a matter of urgency. 

"A search team dedicated to finding him will be focusing their efforts in and around the loch today, with support from Police Scotland's dog unit, specialist police search advisors and the coastguard.

"This encompasses some challenging terrain which requires specialist knowledge and skills."

Image copyright Google
Image caption A potential sighting is being explored near the Barony Hotel

Police also asked people to check any docked boats around the loch.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact police as soon as possible.

Mr Mainland is described as 5ft 8in tall, of slim build with blue eyes, short white hair and a short white beard.

At the time he left home he was wearing a blue body warmer, purple top, black trousers and brown slippers.

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