Specialist police officers searching for missing rugby fan Ben Thompson will continue their focus on the River Ely and its banks today, as flyers calling for information are handed out in the area where he was last seen.
Police divers and cadaver dogs searched a length of the river yesterday from the site of the old Arjo Wiggins paper mill, off Sanatorium Road in Canton, to the Leckwith Road bridge.
Meanwhile officers and volunteers continued searching through undergrowth on the river banks and in nearby Leckwith Woods, in a desperate hunt for clues as to the Haverfordwest gas worker’s disappearance.
And yesterday a police spokeswoman appeared to rule out any suspicious activity, saying Ben’s disappearance was being treated simply as a “missing person search”, adding that there was “nothing to suggest anything other than that”.
It comes as Ben’s employers at Pembrokeshire gas plant South Hook LNG printed flyers to be handed out in the local area by 30 of his close friends, family and colleagues, who travelled to Cardiff from Haverfordwest to help in the search.
The company also paid for full-page adverts in today’s South Wales Echo and Western Mail, in the hope that anyone with information might come forward.
New images retrieved by police yesterday, but not given out to media, show the fitness enthusiast and keen cyclist walking down a lane at the end of Lawrenny Avenue towards wasteland.
Those images were taken minutes after Ben was captured on CCTV crossing Leckwith Road into Lawrenny Avenue at 7.17pm on Saturday.
He had been in the city for the Six Nations match and was last seen by friends in Mill Lane around 45 minutes earlier, when he was seen leaving a queue for city centre bar Mocha Lounge by himself.
On Tuesday, his anxious family spoke of their fears that he may have been attempting to walk to his hotel near Cardiff Airport, around 10 miles away.
His brother-in-law, Phil Coles, said: “He enjoys social events and it may be on this occasion that his enjoyment has gone to a point where his ability to make sense of the direction he was travelling [was impaired].”
At a press conference, Ben’s wife of six years Jo, 38, called on the public to, “Please help me find my husband.”
She added: “I would ask anyone who saw Ben after 7pm on Saturday to please contact the police urgently.”
Her plea led to a wave of calls from members of the public, which Chief Inspector Eddie Ough yesterday said gave his officers vital information.
“We have had a positive response following yesterday’s press appeal and wish to thank all those who have called us,” he said.
“The information they have provided has confirmed that we are searching the right area.
“Ben’s family, friends and colleagues are assisting the investigation by speaking with the local community to gather further information and they are also arranging additional leaflets and posters for which we are grateful.”
He added that around 50 officers were still involved in the search, with the police helicopter also assisting in “open land searches”.
Charlotte Ruiz, 45, of Penarth Road, her daughter Sancha Pursuy, 24, and their friend Debbie Elson, 38, volunteered to help in the search after seeing media coverage.
Cake-maker Charlotte said: “When I heard they were there searching for a missing man I thought I had to help somehow.
“I have been following the April Jones search and you feel so helpless, now this is on my doorstep.
“We’ve seen some of the other volunteers and his family and I thought, ‘what if he was my brother?’ This guy is missing somewhere I can see from my window. We had to do something.”
She added: “I saw Ben’s family this morning at the Sand Martin [pub] and they were devastated, they couldn’t speak. I said to them, ‘We’ll find him, it’s OK. We’ll find him.’”
Ben is around is 5ft 9ins, has short brown hair, blue eyes and was last seen wearing a white shirt with thin blue stripes, blue jeans and brown leather lace-up boots.
Anyone with information about where Ben could be should contact the control room at Cardiff Bay police station on 029 2033 8465.