A MISSING 86-year-old man who had been sleeping rough was rescued by quick-thinking security staff at Middlesbrough Bus Station.

The elderly man had been reported missing three weeks earlier, before staff John Riley and Helen Gair found him in a confused state at the bus station, trying to get to Darlington from Middlesbrough on the X66 route.

He was believed to be suffering from dementia and could not remember his name or where he had come from when he was found late at night in the bus station.

Security supervisor John Riley said: "He was brought to our attention by a member of the public who said he was trying to get on the bus to Darlington, but the last bus had gone.

"He said, never mind, I will just sleep on the street like last night, and that is when I started to get worried.

"I contacted the police because there was something that didn't seem right. I couldn't have let him sleep out on the street - I wouldn't have been able to sleep for worrying about him,

"Cleveland Police came and they managed to coax his name and address out of him even though he had been too confused before. "

The man had been reported missing by his son in Northumberland three weeks earlier - and no-one knew where he had been in that time. Mr Riley and Ms Gair stayed with him past the end of their shift until he was collected in the early hours of the morning.

Last night (Tuesday, June 3) a Middlesbrough councillor praised staff for going the extra mile in looking him.

Tracy Harvey, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Environment, said: “The staff at the Bus Station should be praised highly for their vigilance and caring towards this gentleman.

“They have showed they will go the extra mile to help the public and are exactly the kind of people we would want welcoming all visitors arriving in our town through Middlesbrough Bus Station.”

The Bus Station is signed up to the Safe Places Scheme – a national initiative which was launched in Teesside in October last year by Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Barry Coppinger.

The scheme involves local organisations and businesses offering a place of safety to vulnerable members of society, typically the elderly or those with learning difficulties.

Members of the public may wish to use a venue if they feel isolated, suffer with dementia and become lost or disorientated or have experienced a particular incident.