THE mother of a missing student has spoken for the first time about her heartache.

Teesside University student Craig Hetherington, 22, of Guisborough, disappeared one Saturday night in February after leaving Middlesbrough's Cornerhouse pub following a night out with friends.

His mother, Sandra Flintoft, has been left agonising over what may have happened to him.

"It's the not knowing that's the worst," said Mrs Flintoft.

"We feel as if life has stopped for us.

"In my heart of hearts I have to hope that he's alive and he will come home - we all have to.

"Whatever else may have happened to him doesn't bear thinking.

"We just want him home safely and for him to know that he's loved very much by us all."

His disappearance is a complete mystery.

He has not accessed his bank account, had no obvious problems at home or at university and has never gone missing before.

Anyone with information about Craig's whereabouts can contact Cleveland Police on (01642) 302626. The National Missing Persons Helpline is 0500 700 700.