Police praise “fantastic” volunteers who found missing man

Search volunteers were praised for their fantastic work after they found a missing man of 79 from Pulborough who was suffering from dangerous hypothermia.

The Sussex Search and Rescue squad of nearly 50 refused to give up when darkness fell, and continued searching for Leslie Collins.

The team found Mr Collins in a ditch, suffering from hypothermia, which can be fatal if not treated quickly, especially in older people.

Mr Collins had been missing since Saturday and they team found him on Monday evening at 8pm in a ditch just off Connolly Way in Chichester, long after darkness had fallen.

An ambulance crews took Mr Collins to St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester, where he remained earlier this week.

PC Dan Johnson of Sussex Police said: “This was fantastic work by SusSAR volunteers who had been searching for many hours, but had continued their work into darkness with this great result. Many thanks to those who had been looking out and spreading the word.”

Police had expressed concern for Mr Collins, who was last seen at an address in Blomfield Drive, Chichester on Saturday. They said he had suffered a stroke and his disappearance was out of character.

Sussex Search and Rescue secretary John Griffiths told the Post: “Over two days we had a total of 43 volunteers searching for Leslie Collins. On Sunday we were also supported by colleagues in the Sussex dog search team.

“All our members give up their time free of charge 24/7, to help Sussex police search for high risk vulnerable missing people. We are all professionally trained to national standards, so that as was the case over the weekend.Ourselves and the dog team can jointly work together.

“When we found Mr Collins, team members used their first aid skills to make him as comfortable as possible until paramedics arrived. We train regularly, in all weathers, so that when we are faced with situations like last night, we can respond and act accordingly.”

The group’s efforts have previously been recognised by the Sussex Police Chief Constable, who presented it with a special award in recognition of “assistance to Sussex Police and the community in searching for vulnerable missing persons”.

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