FEARS were growing this week for a missing Torquay businessman.
Police and coastguard searches of the Torquay coastline were being stepped up after 49-year-old John Basham disappeared from the Chelston area of Torquay on Sunday.
"We are now very, very concerned about him," said the man leading the police hunt, acting Det Insp Chris Yarwood.
A police statement said: "John has been reported missing by concerned family and friends and they are desperate to know his whereabouts to ensure he is safe and well.
"John is from the Chelston area of Torquay and was last seen going for a walk in the local area, which may have included Cockington.
"John is described as a white male, 6ft 1in tall, dark short hair, slim build with blue eyes. John was last known to be wearing blue jeans, a blue anorak and dark coloured walking boots.
"It is possible John is staying in a local guest house or hotel."
The police helicopter has been sweeping areas of Torquay, backed up by officers on the ground.
Sgt Mark Ruston, a police search advisor, said: "His intentions were to go for a walk and then return home.
"The lack of specific information makes it very difficult to be able to search for him, but officers are completing a thorough investigation to try to locate him.
"It is not like John to be out of contact with his family and close friends for this length of time and they are understandably very concerned for him.
"We believe John has a Samsung phone on him and messages have been left by his friends asking him to contact them, but so far he has not made any contact."
If anyone has information as to the whereabouts of John they are asked to please call Devon and Cornwall Police on 101 (non urgent) quoting incident reference 599 11/11/12.