Public urged not to join search for cyclist as weather worsens

Hazardous weather conditions have seen members of the public urged not to rejoin the coastal search for a missing cyclist.

Police thanked local people in Co Antrim for their efforts so far to find Sam Campbell but said the area of the Coast Road where the hunt is now focused is too dangerous for those who have not been trained.

Mr Campbell, 49, disappeared on New Year's Day after leaving his home outside Ballymena, Co Antrim.

Police and lifeboats are searching the coastline close to Glenarm amid rising concern for the father of three, who regularly made journeys of 20-30 miles on his bike.

Mr Campbell was last seen by his wife, cycling along the Tully Road in Kells on Sunday afternoon. His bike was discovered on the shoreline, about a mile outside Glenarm, on Tuesday night.

Detective Inspector Bob Blemmings, who is leading the investigation, said searches are currently focused in the coastal area between Ballygally Head and Garron Point.

Police and the Coastguard are involved in the hunt today.

"We are still appealing for members of the public who may have seen Samuel in the Coast Road area of Glenarm on Sunday afternoon, or who may have any information that could assist with our inquiries, to contact police on 0845 600 8000," said Mr Blemmings.

"When last seen out cycling near his home in Kells, Samuel was wearing a red top with the letters TCG on it and long black leggings. He is around 6ft tall, of a slim build with short dark hair.

"I would also ask that anyone who was cycling in the coastal area on 1st or 2nd January and wearing similar clothing to that which Samuel was last seem wearing to contact police so we can eliminate them from our inquiries.

"I'm very grateful to members of the community for their response to the appeal for information so far."

A further police statement added: "Police would like to thank members of the public for their offers of assistance to help with the search for Samuel Campbell.

"However, because of the weather conditions and hazardous nature of the coastline, specialist search and rescue organisations are involved and police would ask that the public do not put themselves in danger by trying to help with the operation."

Extensive searches of the Ballymena area have already been carried out by police officers, sniffer dogs, coastguards, mountain rescue and the local community over the last few days.

The operation has been covering a wide area, including Kells, Ballymena, Clough, Ahoghill and Cullybackey.

Yesterday, Mr Campbell's wife Laverne, said: "He is committed to his work, his family and to cycling and did everything 100%.

"He wanted to get his training started early and that is why he went out on Sunday."

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