POLICE searching for missing Helmsley woman Barbara Colling are now treating the search as a body recovery exercise.

Officers thanked volunteers for their help over the weekend, which saw more than 130 people turning out on Saturday to join in the effort, and around 70 people on Sunday.

The searches took place along the B1257 and in the Fangdale Beck area.

During the weekend’s search effort, a 39-year-old man from Newcastle, who is a member of the Cleveland Search and Rescue Team, was airlifted to hospital after falling into a gulley just after 1pm on Saturday.

He sustained severe bruising and was released after treatment.

Mrs Colling was last seen walking along the B1257 near Abbotts Hag at around 9.30am on Monday, January 28.

Inspector Andy Everitt said: “I would like to thank everyone who turned out in the effort to find Barbara. Their help has been absolutely tremendous.

“Sadly, we are now treating the search as a body recovery exercise, as there is very little chance of finding Barbara alive.

“We are supporting her family at this difficult time and will continue to do so until the search ends.

Inspector Everitt added: “Thankfully the man who was taken to hospital, after he suffered a fall, was not seriously injured.

“The accident shows that even trained members of search and rescue teams can suffer mishaps.

“I am asking members of the public who go out searching for Barbara on their own to take extra care and not put themselves in any danger.”

Anyone who can help locate Mrs Colling is urged to contact North Yorkshire Police immediately by dialling 101.