FRIENDS of a Darwen man who went missing six days ago have been desperately searching moors, woods and rivers to try to find him.

Zodie Atkinson said around 20 friends had formed a search party to look for Edward Sutton, 53, who has not been seen since he left his home in Cloister Drive at 3.30pm on Saturday.

Bosses at Blackburn with Darwen Council, where Mr Sutton works in the highways department, have also expressed their concern about him.

Zodie, who owns Slice hairdressers in Railway Road, Darwen, who has known Edward for more than 20 years, said she thought his job was putting him under pressure.

She said: "He told us he had been busy with lots of calls about the roads. If that was his job it wouldn't be a pot of roses.

"He has always kept in touch with us and has never been a cause for concern.

"He is a keen walker and would go on long walks but has never gone missing before.

"If he came back, he would see we are making all this fuss.

"He said he was going out and would be back for tea. He didn't take any money or a jacket. He wasn't prepared to stay out overnight. We just hope he found shelter somewhere and will turn up safe and well."

George Bell, associate director for highways and transportation, said: “Ed is a well-liked colleague who we are obviously concerned about.

"We are in contact with the police providing what help we can and urge anybody who may have seen Ed or have any information about where he might be to get in touch with the police as soon as possible.”

Police said his disappearance was "completely out of character".

Edward is white, of medium build with short grey hair, clean shaven with a pale complexion.

He was last seen wearing tracksuit bottoms with trainers and was carrying a black and yellow backpack.

Call Lancashire Police on 101.

A family statement said: “We want Ed to know that his family love him and we want his safe return to make our family complete.”