A MAJOR search has been carried out for a missing teacher - involving a helicopter, aircraft, drones, and nearly 100 people.

Police are growing increasingly concerned for the welfare of Darren Blyth, who left his home in Trimdon Station, County Durham, at around 7pm on Wednesday, stating his intentions to take photographs at Hawthorn Dene.

The 55-year-old, who is a science teacher at Stokesley School was reported missing shortly after midnight when he did not return home.

The Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team were called by Durham Police in the early hours of Thursday to help in the search.

A spokesperson for the team said: "He was a keen photographer, but his camera was discovered in his car leaving police baffled as to his whereabouts.

"The team searched areas of woodland near where his vehicle was located at Hawthorn Dene, Seaham, from first light before calling other mountain rescue teams from the North East Search & Rescue Association (NESRA) to assist.

"Team members came from Cleveland MRT, Swaledale MRT, North of Tyne MRT and Northumberland National Park MRT followed by RAF search and rescue from Leeming who also deployed a drone.

"The police helicopter carried out two separate fly overs and the Coastguard also deployed an aircraft to carry out coastal searches along with a vessel in the water scouring the tidal area.

"Search & Rescue teams numbered about 50, the coastguard had up to 30 people involved along with many police hours put in on the ground and behind the scenes.

"The Teesdale & Weardale Team, who led the search , accrued 12 hrs continuous searching before exhausting all avenues and standing down at around 6pm on Thursday to await further investigation from police."

Mr Blyth is described as 5ft10, of slim build and with short grey hair. He was last seen wearing a black North Face coat and grey outdoor trousers.

Anybody with any information relating to his whereabouts should contact Durham Police on 101, quoting reference number 005 of April 15.