SEARCH teams will return to the area where a missing teacher’s car was found in a bid to jog the memories of people who might have seen him.
Almost a week after deputy headmaster Mark Bushnell went missing, police say his family are now "very realistic" about the chances of a positive outcome to the search.
The father-of-three, a teacher at Durham School for more than 20 years, has not been seen since lunchtime on Sunday, March 9 when he left his family home.
His wife, Joanna, reported him missing that evening and his grey Citroen C3 was found in the car park at Blackhall Rocks, near Peterlee, on Monday morning.
Police have now completed a detailed examination of the vehicle in case it contained clues as to his whereabouts and it is now being returned to the family.
Today (Friday, March 14), search teams continued to scour the Crimdon Dene and Blackhall Rocks area in the hope of finding a trace of Mr Bushnell.
Inspector Dave Coxon, of Durham Police, said: "We spoke at length to Mark's family yesterday and they are very realistic about the chance of a positive outcome.
"With the help of the other agencies we have covered a huge area on land, in the sea and by air over the last few days.
"We have also used specialist sniffer dogs in the hope of finding a clue which might indicate where Mark has gone.
"Everything we have learned about him indicates a devoted family man who is very highly regarded by all who know him.
"It would be completely out of character for Mark to just disappear and not make any contact with his family."
Search and rescue volunteers, backed up by specialist police search advisors, will be back out looking for Mr Bushnell over the weekend.
On Sunday, seven days after his disappearance, police community support officers will be in the car park and Crimdon Dene caravan park handing out leaflets containing Mr Bushnell’s photo and details to visitors.
Police say they have now spoken to a number of people who remember seeing Mr Bushnell or speaking to him after he parked his car last Sunday morning, but hope there is someone with vital information who has not yet come forward.