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Police remain concerned for welfare of missing Wickford man
POLICE searching for a missing man have revealed he made contact with a relative the day after failing to turn up to work.
Despite the new information officers investigating the disappearance of Stephen Rider, 56, remain concerned for his welfare.
He left his home in Ruthven Close, Wickford, around 9.45am on Wednesday and was reported missing just 45 minutes later after failing to turn up to work in Brentwood.
Mr Rider made a call to a family member at about 1.20pm the following day, which has been traced to a phone box near the Ship Inn on Burnham-on-Crouch High Street.
Police have launched a fresh appeal for information urging anyone who saw him to come forward.
Officers have also revealed they believe Mr Rider may have taken his pet ferret with him.
They are hoping the distinctive animal will jog someone's memory.
Inspector Mark Rayner said: "We really need help from anyone who may have seen Mr Rider because he has been missing since Wednesday and we are concerned about his welfare.
"We believe he may have taken his pet ferret with him, along with the animal’s cage and food. If he did he would have been quite distinctive and we really hope someone may have seen him.
"We also would like to speak to anyone who may have seen a man making a call from the phone box in Burnham-on-Crouch.”
Mr Rider is described white, 5ft 10ins tall, balding and of broad bald.
He would have left Wickford either on foot or by public transport.
Concern is growing as he has never gone missing before.
Anyone with information is urged to contact police at Basildon on 101.
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