Fresh searches have been carried out on the outskirts of Norwich for a man who vanished from the area three months ago.

James Whitman, 40, has not been seen since Monday June 13, when he left the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Despite extensive inquiries, no trace of him has been found.

But over the weekend, the search operation resumed, with an expanded focus.

It came days after the family of Mr Whitman, from Gressenhall, near Dereham, issued a heartfelt plea for people to help find him, describing the months without him as an "absolute nightmare".

Police officers and volunteers from Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue carried out searches in Cringleford, Earlham, Bowthorpe and the surrounding areas.

They visited thousands of homes while checking outbuildings, sheds, farms, fields and gardens in a bid to try to find Mr Whitman.

Jack Wiseman, chairman and search manager of Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue, said: "We expanded our search from where James was last seen.

"Most of our 22-strong volunteers dedicated themselves to the search. We wanted to use as much daylight as possible," said the 30-year-old, from Thorpe Marriott.

So far the rescue team has put in 540 hours searching for Mr Whitman.

Mr Wiseman added: "We searched basically anywhere which we'd class as off the beaten track.

"At the moment we're just concentrating on searching the land."

The teams are made up of five to eight people who work methodically through an area.

"We use a method of line searching" added Mr Wiseman.

"Depending on terrain - higher or lower grass - we'll either close up or spread out to make sure everywhere has been covered.

"We were looking for basically anything James had on him when he disappeared.

"Whether that's clothing, a bag, any items on him - whatever he would've gone missing with."

In the days after Mr Whitman went missing, an extensive search involving officers, police dogs and drones took place in the areas around Earlham Park and the University of East Anglia – including the lake at the UEA.

Officers have also made house-to-house enquiries, checked CCTV footage and investigated reported sightings.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact them on 101 quoting incident number 341 of June 13, 2022.


Earlier this month, Mr Whitman's parents issued a statement, saying: “We think of James every day; wondering where he is, if he’s on his own, if he’s scared or lonely, happy, or sad.

"We wake up every morning wondering if today will be the day that we get some news but go to bed every night hoping that tomorrow will be different.

"It feels like someone has hit the pause button on our lives while others around us carry on their lives as normal.”

Ms Sowinski added that the family try and be normal but often feels "guilty" while not knowing about James' whereabouts.

"People stop us and ask how we are but it is difficult to know what to say, I can’t begin to explain our feelings and emotions because I can’t find the words," she said.

“The hours that James has been missing have turned into days, weeks and now months.

"We know no more today than we did three months ago, and it is emotionally destroying us.

"Please come forward if you know anything, we need your help to know what has happened to James.”