Appeal to end missing cyclist Tony Parsons mystery

Media caption,
Sighting of missing cyclist Tony Parsons on CCTV

Police have issued a fresh appeal for information over the mysterious disappearance of a cyclist in the Highlands exactly a year ago.

Tony Parsons, 64, from Tillicoultry, was a "good decent man", according to former naval colleague John Pritchard, who is joining the appeal to find him.

Tony was last seen at about 23:30 on 29 September at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel.

He then headed south on the A82 towards Tyndrum on his charity ride from Fort William to his Clackmannanshire home.

'Same area'

However, Tony never arrived home and no-one knows what happened to him.

Mr Pritchard, 62, served on a Polaris submarine with Tony - who was then a chief petty officer - in the 1980s.

Image source, Police Scotland
Image caption,
It is exactly a year ago since Tony Parsons was last seen

In later years they ended up living in the same village and joined the same rugby club.

The retired offshore worker, also from Tillicoultry, told the BBC Scotland news website: "I've known Tony for over 30 years.

"We were in the Navy together - we then lived in the same area and ended up in the same rugby club.

"He was a pretty solid guy - he was a good guy who would do you a favour any time he could. If he could help you he would.

"He was just a good, decent man."

Image source, Police Scotland
Image caption,
Tony Parsons cycled through Glencoe village and was last seen at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel

He added: "He loved his rugby - he played, he refereed, he coached, he was heavily involved in rugby in the village.

"It doesn't surprise me that he was doing this ride for charity, that was Tony.

"It's incredibly sad and disappointing that nobody has either seen anything, or if they have they have never come forward to say they've seen anything."

Anything suspicious

The grandfather had been treated for cancer in the past and was undertaking the 104-mile (167km) ride for a charity.

Extensive searches of the area - close to the West Highland Way - were made by coastguard and mountain rescue teams in the weeks after his disappearance.

Police said there had been nothing to suggest anything suspicious had happened to him.

Image source, John Pritchard
Image caption,
John Pritchard has known Tony for more than 30 years

Ch Insp Drew Sinclair said: "We have not uncovered any evidence at all of any criminality through the extensive searches and inquiries we have conducted.

"It still remains a missing persons inquiry at the moment.

"We have traced his movements from Fort William, through to Glen Coe, through to the Bridge of Orchy Hotel, and then an unconfirmed sighting about a half mile south of the hotel from another lorry driver.

"From there, there's been absolutely no confirmed sightings of Tony or the bike, which a year on, is unusual."

Police are appealing for visitors to the area over the summer, and those currently in the area, to come forward with any information that might help.

Yellow bike

Mr Parsons left an address in Ross Court, Tillicoultry, at about 09:30 on 29 September and caught a train to Fort William, leaving the town on his bike at about 16:10.

He passed through Glencoe village at about 18:00.

Police have released video footage taken from Claymore Filling Station of him cycling through the village.

The cyclist is 5ft 9in tall, of stocky build, with short hair, a moustache and glasses.

He has a tattoo of an anchor on his upper right arm and a tattoo of an eagle on his left.

He was last seen wearing a distinctive red waterproof jacket.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
Mr Parsons was heading south on the A82 towards Tyndrum when he was last seen

Earlier, he was seen wearing a blue, long-sleeved cycling top, a high-viz vest, fingerless gloves, beige combat trousers, a silver and grey cycling helmet and walking boots.

He was carrying a silver and blue backpack and had a yellow-framed bike with black handlebars.

'Agonising year'

Ch Insp Sinclair said the family had suffered since Mr Parsons disappeared. He is married with two grown-up children and two grandchildren.

The officer said: "It has been an agonising year for his family, who have had to get through Christmas, New Year, birthdays and anniversaries without answers about where their husband, dad and grandfather is.

"Our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time, and I want to thank the local communities for their co-operation and support throughout our inquiries."

He added: "Tony was last seen wearing cycling gear and the yellow-framed bike he was riding has not yet been found.

"I would appeal to anyone who may have seen a piece of clothing similar to that which Tony was wearing, or who could have found the bike, to please get in touch immediately."

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