POLICE have officially ended the search for a missing Colne Valley man – but thousands of Scottish soccer fans are on the lookout for him!
Steven Cooper vanished from his Golcar home more than five weeks ago and his car was found later in an isolated part of Scotland.
Intensive police searches of the area found no trace of him and the search has just been officially called off.
But one of the organisers of the Tartan Army website for soccer-mad fans who follow the Scottish national team is helping the family.
Other Scots worldwide are also helping the search.
Businessman Don Lawson, from Inverness, has emailed all 45,000 members of the Tartan Army information about Steven so they can keep an eye out for him.
Also, a poster of Steven has been sent to every tourist information board in the UK via a special tourist intranet website in the hope that if he goes to a guest house, bed and breakfast or a tourist office someone will recognise him.
The police-led searches in Scotland have included swoops by an RAF helicopter and a search of a loch near where Steven’s car was found.
Experts made three searches of the deep water using the latest sonar equipment, but nothing showed up.
Now police have officially finished the search and Steven’s family understand why.
His sister, 39-year-old Trish Cooper, from Brockholes, said: “The police have called the search off and said there is nothing more they can do as they have no further clues or leads.
“The police have been absolutely amazing and could not have done more for us. It’s very unfortunate that Steven has not been found. We just wish he would come home.
“We are extremely grateful to everyone who is helping us.’’
Steven left his home on Scar Lane in Golcar early on Monday, January 21, which was his 47th birthday.
He left his mobile phone, cash and credit cards behind and has not used either of his two bank accounts.
His Ford Focus car was found on the A86, near the Inverness-shire village of Moy, on Sunday, January 27. The search stretched as far as 50 miles and included the sonar searches of Loch Laggan, 20 miles west of Fort William. Steven loves Scotland and had been to that area before.
He had driven up the A1 and a receipt was found in his abandoned car from Morrisons supermarket at Greenock, west of Glasgow, from 9.48am on the day he disappeared.
Steven is now featured on the national Missing People website after his details were recently added, along with a photo.
To thank the Missing People group for its help Steven’s relatives are having a stall at the Huddersfield Open Market on Tuesday, March 25, selling new and nearly new items to raise money for it.
“We just wanted to give them something back,’’ said Trish. “The charity has put posters of Steven along the route he took from Huddersfield to Scotland that Monday.’’
She added: “He had a great time at his birthday party. It was totally out of character for him to go.’’
Steven will be profiled on a BBC programme called Missing in late April.
He suffers from a rare condition, Marfan Syndrome, which meant he could not work.
He has probably had it all his life, but it was diagnosed when he was seriously ill after a motorcycle crash about 12 years ago.
Marfan Syndrome is a genetic disorder of the connective tissue which can involve many areas of the body, such as the heart, lungs, skin, skeleton and eyes.
The most serious problem is weakness of the aorta, the body’s largest artery, which affects most sufferers to some degree.
It left Steven with some difficulty walking and he sometimes walked with a stick.
Steven has two brothers, Christian and Mark, and his parents are Margaret and Donald Cooper. He has a 15-year-old stepson, Ian.
Mr Cooper also has an 18-year-old stepdaughter, Zoe, and a 19-year-old son, Nathan, who does not live with the family.
Steven is 6ft 2in tall and slim, with blue/green eyes and short, thinning blond hair.
When last seen he was wearing a dark blue waterproof jacket, a three-coloured striped grey jumper, blue jeans, a blue and white checked shirt and grey walking shoes.
Anyone with any information should call freephone 0800 700740.