POLICE are searching a river in the hunt for a man who went missing during a Christmas party at the weekend.

Edward Gillespie, 38, was last seen in the early hours of Saturday December 23 at the Roydon Marina Hotel near Roydon Mill.

Bedfordshire Police launched an investigation after they were alerted by Mr Gillespie's relatives when he failed to return to his home in Luton.

His car was found still parked at the hotel in Roydon and Essex Police began searching the area yesterday evening.

The force's marine unit, other specialist search teams and the police helicopter are now searching the River Stort, its banks, the hotel and its grounds.

Chief Insp Nick Lee, who is leading the search, said: "We are extremely concerned for Mr Gillespie’s welfare.

"He had been attending a company party at the hotel and was due to stay overnight before checking out on Saturday morning.

"His car and belongings are still at the hotel but there is no sign of Mr Gillespie.

"We want to hear from anyone who might have seen him, possibly walking around outside the hotel in the early hours of Saturday.”

  • Anyone with information should call police in Harlow on 101.