Search for missing man and dog scaled down after CCTV shows them being swept out to sea

News

CCTV appears to show a missing dad and his pet dog being swept out to sea close to where they were last seen, say police.

The search for Gareth Jones, 69, and his brown cockapoo dog, called Connie, in Hove, East Sussex, was scaled down after police reviewed the footage.

His devastated daughter Rhian wrote on Facebook that the family had received “the worst news”.

Mr Jones was reported missing on Saturday after he was last seen at a fishmonger at 1pm.

Sussex Police said officers watched CCTV from the area and believe the footage shows Mr Jones and his dog, described by his family as his “best friend”, being swept out into the water.

Neither he nor his dog were found during extensive searches involving HM Coastguard and RNLI boats, and a rescue helicopter.

Earlier, Mr Jones’ worried daughter Rhian Jones had told SussexLive: “He was reported missing around 5pm yesterday by my mum.

“He said to my brother that he was going out to get the fish and walk the dog in time for the Brighton football game so that was kick-off around 3pm.

“So he was in good spirits he had the intention of going home and cooking the food he had bought and watching the football.”

But the search of the Hove seafront took a tragic turn after it entered its second day and police reviewed the video.

Later, after police gave an update to the family, Mr Jones’ daughter Rhian wrote on Facebook: “We have had the worst news. Please stand down all search efforts.

“Thank you everyone for all of your help and support. We will need you all more than ever now. Lots of love from us 3 and mum.”

Mr Jones went to Fish, a local fishmonger near Hove Lagoon, and was seen walking towards the seafront after putting his purchase in his car at about 1pm on Saturday.

He had told his family he was going out to buy fish and walk his dog, but he would return home by 3pm to watch Brighton’s Premier League match against Leeds.

But he failed to return home and his wife reported him missing at 5pm.

The search resumed on Sunday morning after being suspended overnight.

A Sussex Police spokesperson said: “The search for missing Hove man Gareth Jones has been scaled down following an update on the investigation this afternoon (Sunday, January 17).

“Gareth, 69, was reported missing with his brown cockapoo dog on Saturday (January 16) having not been seen since 1pm.

“Officers investigating the matter have viewed CCTV from the area where he was last seen, and believe it shows Gareth and his dog sadly getting swept out to sea.

“Despite extensive searches involving Sussex Police, HM Coastguard, lifeboat crews and search and rescue volunteers, Gareth nor his dog have been found.

“Coastguard and lifeboat crews have now been stood down from the search, but police officers and volunteers are continuing to search the coastline.

“Sussex Police would like to thank all of those involved with the search, including members of partner agencies and the many volunteers who have offered support.”

The force had said earlier: “We are still urgently searching for missing Hove man Gareth Jones. When last seen, he was walking his dog and wearing a blue puffer coat, grey tracksuit bottoms with white stripes down the legs and a navy beanie hat.”