DETECTIVES searching for a missing teenager – not seen for four days – say they consider him to be at ‘high risk’.
Declan Edwards, 16, has not been seen since Sunday and concerns are now growing for his safety.
Police said they could not rule out that the youngster, from Waddington Avenue, Burnley, was being held against his will.
The investigation is now being led by Burnley CID.
Volunteer search parties again scoured the streets for the Clarets fan yesterday in the hope of finding vital clues to track him down.
Police said they were looking into several reasons why the Unity College prefect, last seen in Towneley Park around 2pm on Sunday, might have disappeared.
A search has also been carried out today by the underwater search team of the lake at Townley Park, although this is routine and there is nothing specific to suggest Declan has come to any harm.
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He was last seen by a friend in Towneley Park as he made his way home from a house party. Police said he had been in Worsthorne the night before and then stayed the night with another group of friends at another house in Burnley. He has not been seen since.
Insp Hassan Khan, who is leading the investigation into Declan’s disappearance, said: “We have not got any information to suggest that Declan is being kept against his will, but we are keeping an open mind.
“The case is being treated as a high risk missing person inquiry due to Declan’s age, the fact that going missing is out-of-character for him and because he has been missing for a few days now.
“There are a number of lines of enquiry we have been following such as visiting his friends and family, CCTV checks and following up information we have received from the public, facebook and calls.”
The officer confirmed it was believed the youngster was still in Burnley.
Police are now looking into the possible route Declan, who work in catering at Turf Moor on matchdays, might have taken and finding CCTV from those places.
The force helicopter was out yesterday and officers were talking to potential witnesses.
Rumours that somebody had been arrested in connection with Declan’s disappearance were quashed by police.
A social media frenzy has been whipped up as desperate friends and family do their best to help with the investigation.
A Help Find Declan Edwards Facebook group was set up and ‘liked’ by more than 5,500 people.
People were also posting messages on the Missing Declan Edwards information page and on Twitter with the hashtag #FindDeclan.
Famous faces including former Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh, who is from Accrington, and Burnley forward Danny Ings retweeted appeals for information.
Scores of people took to the streets of Burnley to hand out flyers, put up posters and search for anything that might help.
Even heavy rain could not dampen the efforts of the search party, who continued to plaster posters on trees in Thompson Park, cars in Leyland Road and almost any flat surface they came across Organiser Hayley Bennett said: “We do not even know what we’re looking for. Just anything.
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“Anything at all that might be a clue to where he’d been or where he’d gone. We were looking for clothes or his phone. Anything he had on him at the time.”
Declan’s mum Mandy, said she was overwhelmed with the support she had received.
She said: “There is so much news and there have been organised walks with people checking.
“All the support has been fantastic.
“Declan is such a lovely boy and we have such lovely friends and family.
“Everybody wants him home safe and sound. He needs to be home with his family.”
Declan’s dad Christopher also thanked those who had helped.
He posted on Facebook: “I would like to thank everybody who has been involved so far in the search for my son.
“I know there is all sorts of confusing information going round but please work through the police.”
Declan is white, 6ft 1ins tall, slim, with straight short blond hair.
He was last seen wearing a grey Nike sweat shirt and grey Nike jogging bottoms and white and pink Nike trainers.
He may also have a black, lightweight jacket with yellow coloured Lyle and Scott motif on the front with him.
Mr Khan appealed for him or anybody who might know where he was to call them.
He said: “We are growing increasingly concerned about him and I would appeal for anyone who sees him or knows where he might be to get in touch.
“I would also appeal to Declan himself to contact us if he sees this appeal just to let us know he is safe.”
Anyone with information should call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.