The long-term partner of a man who went missing days after being sacked has urged the public for information to assist inquiries into his disappearance.

Colin Morton left his home in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, at 9am on Christmas Eve.

The 52-year-old, said to depressed after being dismissed from his job with Newcastle Building Society five days earlier, left to attend a doctor’s appointment in the town centre.

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CCTV images captured him walking across a footbridge at Whitley Bay Metro Station.

He left the surgery, on Whitley Road, just before 9.15am, and is known to have then gone to a town centre bank, before calling partner Liz Callighan saying he was standing on the cliffs and wanted to end his life, at about 9.50am.

Police investigating his disappearance have looked into a report from a member of the public of a man wearing only either boxer shorts or swimming trunks walking into the sea, near the Rendezvous Café, in Whitley Bay, less than an hour later.

Officers have also been making house-to-house inquiries in the area as concerns over his welfare mount.

Ms Callighan, Mr Morton’s partner of 34 years, has repeated appeals for information as to his possible whereabouts, and other sightings.

The 52-year-old, from Whitley Bay, said: “I would just ask anyone with any information to get in touch with the police please.”

Her partner, who worked for the building society for more than 10 years, was suspended on November 19 when it was discovered he signed a form relating to work carried out by a colleague and not himself.

He was sacked as a senior financial manager following a disciplinary hearing a month later.

Ms Callighan said he became severely depressed and, after she begged him to seek professional help, he made a doctor’s appointment.

She said: “Until five weeks ago Colin was a very chatty, sociable, friendly person. He would talk to anybody.

“But, when he was dismissed, I saw a huge change in him. He was absolutely devastated.

“His career was a huge part of his life. I just love him and whatever happened, there was always a way we could have worked it out.”

Mr Morton is described as 5ft 10in, with grey, thinning hair.

When he left home he was wearing a grey hooded top, grey v-necked T-shirt, navy blue tracksuit bottoms and black slip-on, trainer- type shoes.

Police would also like to speak to anyone who thinks they may be the man spotted walking into the sea, in case it was someone going for recreational swim.

They are asked to ring the non-emergency 101 number.