Police have today changed the location of the hunt for a missing teenager after ruling out a sighting in a village.
Liam Smith, 16, of Aberdeen, was reported missing on Sunday as he had not been seen by loved ones since Saturday lunchtime.
It was initially thought he was in the west Aberdeenshire village of Lumphanan, but today the search is shifting to Banchory.
Police tracked down CCTV of the Westhill Academy pupil outside McDonald’s on Union Street on Saturday afternoon and the youngster walked to Union Square and boarded the 202 bus. There has been no confirmed sighting since.
Liam was thought to have got off the bus in Lumphanan as he had connections with the area.
But, after carrying out thorough inquiries with the support of specialist search officers, a police helicopter and sniffer dogs, police are now content the person seen leaving the bus in the village was not Liam.
Chief Inspector Martin Mackay said: “We are continuing to urge anyone with information to come forward and we now would particularly ask people in the Banchory area to think back to Saturday and consider if they have seen Liam then or at any time since.
“We know that Liam bought a ticket for Raemoir Road, Banchory and would ask anyone who may have been in that area around 2pm to think back to that time as they may be able to assist us in establishing his current whereabouts.
“Naturally Liam’s family is extremely concerned and we just want to trace him as soon as possible to ensure he is safe and well. I would also like to thank residents in Lumphanan for their support of our inquiries yesterday and continue to urge anyone with information to let us know as soon as possible.”
A member of the public previously called police to say she may have seen Liam in Torphins on Monday, but it is understood police have said it was a well-intentioned false sighting.
His mother Alix Smith, renewed her appeal for people to look for her son.
She said: “We are completely shocked and devastated by Liam’s disappearance. We are so worried about him and really anxious to find him and take him home. If Liam sees this message I don’t want him to be concerned about being in any trouble.
“I just want to find him.
“I would ask that if anyone has heard from Liam since Saturday or they saw him on the bus he took, or where he went after he got off the bus please phone the police and give them any information you have.”
She added: “I would also like to appeal to people to check their sheds and outbuildings as he may be taking shelter somewhere.
“We are desperate to find him and we are becoming increasingly concerned as time goes on.”
Liam is white, 6ft 4in tall and of slim build. He has short brown hair and was last seen wearing a dark top, blue jeans and Nike Air Max trainers. He is also understood to be carrying a camouflage North Face backpack.
Call police on 101 with using reference 1302 of November 18.