A TEENAGE girl from Pocklington has pleaded with her missing boyfriend to "come home", and believes he may have attempted to walk 280 miles to the East Yorkshire town.

Owen Harding, 16, from Saltdean, East Sussex, was last seen leaving his home between 6pm and 7pm on Thursday (March 26) and was last heard from around 6.20pm on the same day, Sussex Police said.

With Covid-19 restrictions being heavily enforced, his girlfriend Meg Wells Rhodes believes there is a chance that Owen has tried to walk the 280 miles from Saltdean to Pocklington.

Meg, 16, said: "Owen and I have known each other since we were 11, and, in the last two years it developed from a friendship to a relationship. We’ve maintained it over the distance, but he has taken the travel restrictions imposed by Covid-19 quite hard.

"Living in different cities, it was going to be tough for us to see each other for a while and he wasn’t going to be able to take a train to see me. He left home on Thursday night and we think there is a possibility he is trying to walk to York.”

Stella Harding, Owen’s mother, added: “We’re all desperately worried about him and the situation is an emergency as it is now six days since he went missing. When Owen left, he was upset that he wasn’t going to be able to get a train to visit his girlfriend Meg, in East Yorkshire, due to the Lockdown.

“While it is extremely out of character for Owen to leave and not be in contact, Covid-19 has put everyone under lots of strain and we don’t want to rule anything out. Some of his friends believe that he may have attempted to walk from Saltdean to the north.

“Because search activity and resources are limited right now, I’m begging the UK public to look out for him whilst out on their daily walks. But please make sure that in doing so, you adhere to social distancing and government guidance and do not put yourself or anyone else at risk.”

Sussex Police said a potential line of inquiry around his mobile phone was discounted but links to the East Riding of Yorkshire remain under consideration.

Investigating officer detective chief inspector Alasdair Henry said: "Along with Owen's family and friends, we are very keen to hear from anyone who can help us in our search for him. Were you driving in the Saltdean and Telscombe Cliffs area the evening of his disappearance and might you have captured dashcam footage of him? Did you see Owen in the Saltdean area after 6pm on Thursday?

“We would like to thank the public for their support in our investigation and while we appreciate people would like to help with our searches, we are urging everyone to abide by Government guidance at all times. We are utilising all our available resources to search locally and will, of course, link up with colleagues across the country if there is anything to suggest that he has travelled out of Sussex.

"If you live in the Saltdean or Telscombe Cliffs area, please check sheds, gardens or other outbuildings in case Owen has sought shelter there."

Owen is 6ft tall with short dark brown hair. He was wearing a black / dark hoodie / top or sweatshirt, grey tracksuit trousers and white trainers when he left the house.

If you have information about Owen’s whereabouts, report it to Sussex Police immediately either online or call 101, quoting Operation Chartwell. If you see Owen dial 999.