THE FAMILY of missing pensioner Billy Jones has made a heartfelt appeal for help to trace his whereabouts.

Grandfather-of-four Mr Jones has been missing from his home in Derwent Road, Ferryhill, County Durham, since Friday afternoon.

His wife, Janet, 85, to whom he will have been married for 67 years on Saturday, said he left the house at around 4pm as he often did for a walk.

When he had neither been found nor made contact by 7pm police were alerted and because of his age and frailty he was immediately classed as a high risk missing person.

Today, his son, Glynn, 60, of Ferryhill, and daughter Jan Johnson, 47, of Spennymoor, appealed to the public to help find their 'loving dad'.

Mrs Johnson said: "Someone must have seen him, he was always out and about and he'd say hello to people.

"Just think about Friday and the days since, he took the same routes most of the time but for some reason on Friday he took a different route."

She said his sense of direction and memory were not good and it is possible he either got lost or became frightened in the dark and cold and sought shelter.

Mr Jones admitted the family are trying to remain positive but are losing hope of him being found alive.

He said: "Dad never went missing in his life, he's been gone since Friday. A man of his age cannot just disappear.

"We just want him found, we all need answers."

Durham police and volunteers from Teesdale and Weardale, Swaledale, North of Tyne and Cleveland search and rescue teams have been searching the area around the town.

As many as 100 people have been involved in the operation and a search helicopter has been used.

Chief Inspector Vicki Martin said: "This is the fifth day of searching, we have more than 60 people involved in the search and investigation today.

"We are doing as much as we can in the area and need the public's support, for people to look around their properties and report any possible sightings to help us."

Acting Superintendent Paul Unsworth urged residents to search gardens, sheds, outbuildings and garages and to look for Mr Jones when out walking dogs.

He also asked them to think back to Friday and report any information that could help to Durham police on 0345-60-60-365 or Crimestoppers on freephone 0800-555-111.