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Search continues for six-year-old Lucas Dobson, from Deal, after he fell into the River Stour

ByEleanor Perkins

The search for river fall victim Lucas Dobson has been scaled down for a second night with police admitting there is unlikely to be a positive ending.

Members of the public were advised to stop searching at 10pm, although there is still a police presence in the area.

Superintendent Amanda Tillotson from Kent Police said more than 300 people had been scouring the banks of the Stour.

The search continues after dark on Sunday

But when asked how likely a positive outcome was, she said: “Obviously as time has gone on now I think it is unlikely, unfortunately."

Members of the public wanting to join the search tomorrow have been advised to meet at Sandwich fire station at 8am.

In a statement issued at 7.10pm, Kent Fire and Rescue Service said: "The search for missing six year-old Lucas Dobson has continued throughout the day and will do so until around 10pm tonight.

"Emergency services, partner agencies, charities and members of the public have been working together as part of a coordinated search on land, along the river banks and in the water of the River Stour near Sandwich.

"The specialist and experienced search and rescue teams will continue their work until light prevents them tonight, however they will return first thing in the morning.

"The search teams have been inundated with support; from people helping to look for Lucas to donations of food, water and torches - thank you."

People helping in the search for missing youngster Lucas had earlier been told to focus on two specific areas.

In a 5pm briefing at Sandwich fire station - the meeting point for all those involved - searchers were told to look beyond Richborough Road and beyond the children's park at the Quay.

The search for Lucas has attracted plenty of help. Picture: Maciee Stanford (15386262)
The search for Lucas has attracted plenty of help. Picture: Maciee Stanford (15386262)

People were told to search the bushes and call out his name in case Lucas was able to pull himself out of the water.

Also during the briefing, they confirmed the search will continue until approx 10pm tonight, as with yesterday.

A property in Richborough Road, believed to be a base for Lucas's family and friends, has been shielded by large green incident screens, thought to be for privacy reasons.

A burst of sunshine piercing through the clouds in Sandwich this afternoon was a symbol of hope as the search continued for the missing six-year-old boy, who fell into the River Stour on Saturday afternoon.

Hundreds of people continued to help emergency services as they scoured the water and banks of the River Stour for Lucas, from Deal.

Search teams along the banks of the River Stour (15393705)
Search teams along the banks of the River Stour (15393705)

Police, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, HM Coastguard and volunteers from Kent Search and Rescue were involved and a specialist diving team were also searching the river.

Search & Rescue Teams recommence the search in Sandwich for the missing six-year-old. Picture: Stewart Baird (15398404)
Search & Rescue Teams recommence the search in Sandwich for the missing six-year-old. Picture: Stewart Baird (15398404)

Particular attention was being paid to Richborough Road where the boy was initially reported missing from yesterday afternoon.

Two red Underwater Search and Recovery vans were stationed in a driveway in the road, thought to be just metres from where the Warden House Primary School pupil entered the water.

On the water, there were RNLI crews in dinghys and others rescuers in canoes. The Red Cross also supplied help.

Wearing high visibility clothing, they were thrashing down long grass and peering beneath vessels in search of the youngster.

In a field opposite was up to 20 emergency service vehicles, including police cars, fire engines and coastguard vans.

A rapid response team serving refreshments and portaloos was also in situ.

The community has rallied to support Lucas’s family and friends in the hunt for the boy, with rain showers not stopping efforts.

One of those helping in the search is Noel Kernan, 45

A designated Facebook page, Search for Lucas, has been set up to provide updates to the community and ensure people’s kind actions aren’t hindering emergency service efforts.

Families, many working in pairs as advised by police, could be seen traipsing up and down the water’s edge, with a sombre and quiet mood felt in the air.

Ossie’s fish and chip shop were doing their bit by offering free refreshments to helpers and have started collecting donations for Lucas’s family in a bucket on the counter.

Sandwich Town Council has also waivered it’s 20p fee for use of the public toilets on the Quay.

Additional reporting by Brad Harper

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