York & North Yorkshire

River searches for man missing after York night out

Ben Clarkson Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption Ben Clarkson disappeared in the early hours of Sunday morning in York

Police divers have been called in to help with the search for a 22-year-old man who disappeared after a night out.

Ben Clarkson was last seen outside Fibbers Nightclub on Stonebow in York city centre at 03:30 GMT on Sunday.

North Yorkshire Police said the underwater team would be searching the River Foss throughout the day as one of a number of lines of inquiry.

It comes days after the body of 20-year-old student Megan Roberts was found in the River Ouse near York.

Miss Roberts, from Wetherby in West Yorkshire, disappeared during a night out with friends in the city in January. Her body was found on Sunday near the Ship Inn at Acaster Malbis.

It is thought the York St John University student fell into into the river while under the influence of alcohol.

An inquest into her death has been opened and adjourned.

Image caption Divers from the Yorkshire and Humber Marine Unit have been searching the River Foss

North Yorkshire Police said it was unusual for Mr Clarkson not to contact his friends or family.

He was last seen wearing dark jeans, a grey T-shirt with an Eiffel Tower logo and a black leather jacket. He is described as white, 6ft (1.83m) tall with collar-length blond hair.

Insp Jo Brookshank said: "We've already carried out a number of inquiries including searches of Ben's likely route home to the Heworth Green area and examining CCTV in York.

"A team from the regional underwater search unit is carrying out searches of the River Foss between Ironbridge, Huntington Road and the Foss Basin."

Mr Clarkson, who works at the Music Room shop on Lendal, went to York St John University for a short period from September 2010 to March 2011.

In a statement, the university said: "Our thoughts are with Ben's family and friends at this distressing time."

Image copyright Google
Image caption Ben Clarkson was last seen outside Fibbers Nightclub on Stonebow

The River Foss runs through the east of the city centre before joining the River Ouse.

York Central Labour MP Hugh Bayley said Miss Roberts' death showed more needed to be done to raise awareness of the dangers of rivers among young people.

"The river is dangerous. I live right by the river and it's extremely fast, extremely cold, even if you are a strong swimmer you have no chance in winter," Mr Bayley said.

"I hope Ben Clarkson is found safe and well, but with a second young person disappearing late at night in York within a few weeks, I think pubs and clubs need to do everything they can to get the message across."

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