A MISSING Hartlepool man who had connections to the criminal underworld could have come to some harm say police.

Some 300 people have been spoken to since Scott Fletcher vanished in 2011.

Superintendent Jon Green, from Cleveland Police, who is leading the investigation into the disappearance said the case remains open despite there being no significant leads to follow.

Mystery still surrounds the Wednesday evening of May 11, 2011, when a man believed to be Mr Fletcher was last seen in the lay-by opposite the Jet garage on the A181 at Wheatley Hill in County Durham at about 8.20pm.

“While there is no information to say that he has come to some harm, there are certain aspects of his life that would lead us to believe that it’s a possibility," said Supt Green.

“Scott was in some debt prior to his disappearance and was known to the criminal fraternity.

“We believe people may be withholding information from us because they don’t want to be seen to be disloyal to Scott, or because they are protecting someone else.”

Officers have visited a number of areas, including Liverpool, Cumbria and Durham where Mr Fletcher had links.

He was 27 when he went missing and has a daughter, Lucie, now six.

“It’s another Christmas for Scott’s family without him,” said Supt Green. “They are in agony with no information as to what has happened to him. His family support us in giving this information about Scott in a bid to urge people to come forward."

Mr Fletcher's devastated mother, Julie Fletcher, added: “I can’t explain the torture of not knowing where my son is. It’s like a dark cloud over us. We don’t know whether we will get a phone call to say something terrible has happened to him, or he will come walking through the door.

“He just wouldn’t leave us like this, his daughter Lucie and stepson Bradley miss him terribly. I know Scott made some poor choices, but he is still my son and I need to know what has happened to him, or get him home where he belongs.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Cleveland Police on the non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555111.