A MAJOR search of a city’s riverbanks is underway after a university student disappeared after a night out.

Police and search and rescue teams are combing the area by the River Wear in Durham City for signs of Luke Pearce.

The 19-year-old, a first year Masters Engineering student, based at Durham University’s St Cuthbert’s Society, went missing in the early hours of Sunday, May 11.

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He was reported missing by a member of staff on Sunday evening after fellow students became concerned.

He had been drinking with friends in Jimmy Allen’s, a bar next to Elvet Bridge, on Saturday night and was last seen at about 1.30am walking along the riverbank from the city centre towards Maiden Castle.

Friends say his disappearance is totally out of character. Police have classed his disappearance as high risk.

Chief Inspector Andy Huddleston said: “We are very concerned for Luke as this is completely out of character and there has been no trace of him since early hours of Sunday morning. He hasn’t responded to attempts to contact him and his phone has not been traced.

“If anyone has seen him or a young man matching his description in Durham on Saturday night, contact us as soon as possible on 101.”

Mr Pearce is white, 6ft 2ins tall, with short, ginger hair.

He was wearing a blue polo shirt, blue jeans and white trainers and may have also had on a silver chain with a red cross.

Professor Graham Towl, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Warden at Durham University, said: “We are very concerned to hear Luke Pearce has been reported missing and we are liaising with police to trace him.

“We would appeal for anyone with information to contact police on 101.”

Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team was called in to help with the search.

Steve Owers, deputy team leader, said: “We used four of our canoe group to search the River Wear from Maiden Castle footbridge to Prebends weir. We worked along side the Water Rescue Team from Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue.

“Our mountain rescue volunteers searched the river banks and woodland where the student lived. Unfortunately we have not found any sign of him.”

The disappearance comes a month after Coroner Andrew Tweddle called for action to keep drinkers safe following the death of student Sope Peters, 20.

Mr Tweddle voiced concerns over steep steps and low riverside walls in Durham.