UPDATE: Police in contact with 'missing man' after emergency services step down sea search

Coastguard helicopter crews at Blackpool Airport'Image: Paul Webster
Coastguard helicopter crews at Blackpool Airport'Image: Paul Webster

Police say they have spoken with a man who sparked a major search having been seen walking into the sea at Fleetwood

A major search operation was launched on Monday evening following reports a man had been seen going into the sea close to The Mount.

Police issues this image of Mark Maitland

Police issues this image of Mark Maitland

But it now appears the man they were searching for left the water before emergency services arrived at the scene.

This morning police issued a missing persons appeal for 50-year-old Mark Maitland.

It has now been confirmed Mr Maitland is believed to be the man who entered the water.

He is understood to have made contact with family members on Tuesday afternoon.

Police have now spoken with him but have not been able to confirm he is safe and well.

Mr Maitland was last seen wearing a grey hooded top (either Nike or Adidas) and blue jeans.

He was using a yellow mountain bike.

Coastguard teams from Fleetwood and Lytham spent Tuesday morning scouring the beaches between Blackpool and Fleetwood with lifeboat crews from Fleetwood and Blackpool conducting searches in the water.

A Coastguard helicopter was called in to assist in the search.

Mark Sumner of Fleetwood Coastguard said: "We had search teams out again from 7am.

"The Lytham team covered the beach between Blackpool and Cleveleys, Fleetwood covering the stretch from Cleveleys northwards.

"Nothing at all has been found.

"The search was ended when the tide came back in and we are not expecting to resume."

Mr Maitland is still considered a missing person,.

If anyone knows where Mark is or has any information about the time before he went missing they can call 101 and quote log 915 of May 16.