Social media helps police trace Uckfield boy

Anthony Elvy
Anthony Elvy

Uckfield was on high alert first thing on Tuesday morning when police used social media sites to report a missing 12-year-old boy.

Thankfully the boy was found later in the morning and he is now safe and well.

Henry Clayson

Henry Clayson

The way the search unfolded indicated the growing influence of these sites as police used Twitter to inform followers, and people tweeted each other with updates.

Uckfield police tweeted the lad was reported missing in the town - although no precise location was given - and asked local people to check their sheds, garages and gardens.

They tweeted that he was wearing his pyjamas, a Puffa jacket and school shoes.

Just after 10am police named the boy as Henry Clayson but repeated their appeal for vigilance.

Local people told the Express that most police activity seemed to be focused on the Ridgewood area with police vehicles parked in the Highlands Inn car park and PCSOs walking the streets.

A few minutes later the police helicopter arrived and began quartering and hovering over the Harlands estate, moving across to the open area between New Road, Ridgewood and the Uckfield by-pass.

People who followed police on Twitter were updated with regular information about the progress of the search, while residents re-tweeted information and joined in the search.

At about 10.30am police renewed their appeal and then released a photograph of Henry Clayson, saying he was last seen at his home in New Road, Ridgewood at about 6.30am on Tuesday morning. He was described as white, 5ft 5in, of medium build and with short, blond hair.

Sgt Simon Kind from Uckfield Police said: “Henry’s disappearance is completely out of character and his family is understandably very concerned.

“We are deploying a significant number of officers to the search but I would ask everyone to keep an eye out for him and also take a look in sheds, garages, etc., or anywhere where he may be sheltering.

“If you see him please call us on 101.”

Then Parcelforce delivery driver Anthony Elvy from Crowborough was on his way to make deliveries on the West Park estate when he saw Henry at the side of the road. He had read the police plea on Twitter so was on the alert. He said: “I saw a very tall, 12-year-old boy in his pyjamas so I pulled over and dialled 999. I said: ‘I may be wasting your time but I have just seen a tall lad in his pyjamas.’”

He said the police helicopter appeared overhead and about ten police cars swooped in within minutes.

He had been on his way from the Fire Station towards West Park when he saw the boy near trees wearing his pyjamas.