Police scour farmland for missing pensioner who vanished over a month ago

Police teams have stepped up their hunt for a pensioner who vanished from his £1.2m farm over a month ago after finding his Land Rover had been torched.

William ‘Bill’ Taylor disappeared on June 3, just days after telling police his Land Rover had been burnt-out in an arson attack.

And yesterday officers with wooden sticks could be seen carrying out searches of the land owned by the 70-year-old in Gosmore, North Hertfordshire.

Police have not confirmed whether they are searching for a body, but say they want to see if Mr Taylor was "taken poorly" in the area.

North Hertfordshire Police Chief Inspector, Julie Wheatley, said: "We are looking for Bill, it may have been that he has taken poorly whilst he has been out in the fields.

"We know it has been just over four weeks since he has disappeared.

"We have searched out buildings, other buildings on the land extensively – this is just the next stage.

"This the deeper more involved search of the fields where the crops have grown."

CI Wheatley confirmed cops had previously searched the house and the perimeters of the field but were now extending the search to the farmer’s land.

She added: "We have searched the house before, we searched initially we did an evidential search in the house and in the fields.

"We have to do it incrementally, which is exactly what we are doing."

The search included combing for clues through oat fields which reach as high at 5ft tall and outbuildings.

CI Wheatley said the police are continuing to keep an open mind of where William may be and said his disappearance is still not being treated as suspicious.

She said: "It is still very much a high risk missing person investigation, until we know otherwise.

"I don’t want to make any speculations on the fact that he has been missing for over four weeks.

"It is still a missing person investigation and it would be wrong of me to speculate".

Commenting on whether the pensioner’s bank account had been touched since his disappearance, the detective added: "We have to very much keep an open mind, we don’t know how people go about with their daily business in terms of finances.

"It could have been that Bill had a large quantity of money with him that is absolutely feasible.

"It is best not to make any speculation until we know for definite what we are dealing with.

"We will carry on looking, we will have to adapt our search strategy but we will keep looking."

Following his disappearance, family members said they were in "turmoil" and were "worried sick" about the missing pensioner.

His son Richard Taylor said: "If anyone out there knows anything about my dad’s whereabouts please contact the police.

"This is an unbearable situation and I am worried sick about him. My family is in turmoil and we are desperate to get him home."

Mr Taylor is white, around 5ft 11in, of medium build with short grey hair.

He was last seen wearing a baby blue-coloured shirt, jeans and black wellies. He may be wearing a navy blue boiler suit.

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