A MAJOR search has been launched for a 70-year-old walker who has not been seen since leaving home yesterday morning.

John Rayton is understood to have been walking in Gisburn but has not returned to his Preston home.

Mountain Rescue teams have been joined by a search and rescue helicopter, with searches currently taking place around Victory Park in Barnoldswick.

Police said it is thought that Mr Rayton may have used public transport to go walking in Gisburn after first, feeding the ducks at the Royal Preston Hospital.

He is described as being white, 5ft 9inc with short mousey hair and was wearing a blue body warmer and blue Ron Hill Striders with a brown Regatta rain jacket and walking boots.

Inspector Bilal Mulla said: “Mr Rayton is a man of routine and his wife was expecting him home between 3:00pm and 5:00pm but didn’t arrive back and has had no contact with her.

“I would appeal to anyone who has seen Mr Rayton to come forward and contact us immediately. If people are walking in the Gisburn area then I would urge them to look out for John and come forward with any sightings.

“Understandably his wife and family are very upset and want to know that he is safe and well. We have officers supporting them and also out looking for John. We are also being assisted in the search by colleagues from the Mountain Rescue service.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Lancashire Police on 101.