POLICE have issued the last CCTV images of a Royal Marine who has disappeared from his home only days before his wife is due to give birth to their first child.
The photographs show 32 year-old Ralph Hebden walking past the main entrance of a supermarket in Arbroath - the Angus town which is home to the 45 Commando base at RM Condor - on the morning he vanished five days ago.
Fears are increasing for the welfare of the Liverpool-born Marine whose distraught wife is expected to give birth within the next two weeks.
Yesterday, as Tayside Police released the CCTV footage, taken on Monday morning at the Morrisons Supermarket in Arbroath, the force also revealed that officers are investigating possible sightings from all over Britain in their search for the missing Marine.
The leaders of the search, now involving a dedicated team of 30 officers, have also appealed to householders in the town to check their sheds, garages and outhouses for any trace of Marine Hebden as the hunt continues.
Marine Hebden left his home in Arbroath on Monday morning to go for a run around the cliffs on the outskirts of the town. The last confirmed sighting of the missing Marine was at 8.30am, close to the entrance to the Morrisons Supermarket in the town’s Hume Street.
A man, matching his description, was spotted by a runner on the sea cliffs at Arbroath 30 minutes later.
A spokeswoman for Tayside Police said yesterday: “Tayside Police are urging householders in Arbroath to check their sheds, garages and outbuildings. Ralph has not been seen by family or friends since Monday and concerns for his welfare increase as time passes.
“Today, officers have released CCTV images of the last sighting of Ralph which were captured at Morrisons Supermarket in Arbroath at about 8.30am on Monday.”
She continued: “Searches in Arbroath at and around the address where Ralph lives are continuing , with a particular focus on sheds, garages and outbuildings, to establish whether he had sought temporary refuge at any point during the time he has been unaccounted for.”
The spokeswoman added: “Police have received a number of reports of potential sightings of Ralph throughout the UK, and each of these reports are being individually investigated.”
Inspector Ally Robertson, one the senior officers involved in the search said: ‘’We would ask householders to follow our lead and check their outbuildings for any sign that someone might have been there. If they spot anything suspicious, they should call us right away.
‘’As time goes by our concerns for Ralph increase as, more significantly, does the concerns of his loved ones. We would urge him to get in touch, either with ourselves, his family or friends as soon as possible so we can establish he is safe and well. ‘’Equally, anyone who has seen him or who knows where he is now should call us immediately on 101, or speak to their local officer.’’
He added “Ralph was known to go on very long walks, heading miles outside of the Arbroath area, sometimes venturing as far as Barry Buddon and even the Carse of Gowrie.”
Two days ago Mrs Hebden issued an emotional appeal to her husband to come home. She said in a statement, released by Tayside Police: “Ralph, as time goes by we are all extremely worried about you and concerned for your safety. Our baby is due in a couple of weeks and we need you home with us both. Your family and friends love you very much. Please come home or contact any of us to let us know you are safe.”
Police officers are also looking at the possibility that Marine Hebdon, originally from Toxteth in Liverpool, may have travelled to the Merseyside area where he has friends and family, and are working closely with Merseyside Police who are assisting with the investigation.
Marine Hebden is described as 6ft 4 inches tall, of muscular build, with short cropped fair hair. When he was last seen he was wearing black trainers, dark blue or black jogging bottoms, a blue fleece and had a blue rain jacket in his possession.