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Kelsale: Efforts continuing to find Tom Armstrong who is missing in Thailand

06:00 18 January 2013

Tom Armstrong did not return home from Thailand last week

Tom Armstrong did not return home from Thailand last week

Archant

EFFORTS are continuing to find a Suffolk man who is missing in Thailand.

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Tom Armstrong, from Kelsale, near Saxmundham, had been doing a diving course on the island of Koh Tao. The 22-year-old former Leiston High School student was due to catch a flight home on January 8 but never arrived.

He had originally been due to return before Christmas, but his family said he ran into trouble in Bangkok.

Detective chief inspector Neil Luckett, from Suffolk Constabulary’s major investigations team, said they had been working closely with Interpol, who in turn had liaised with the Thai authorities. He said he hoped their appeal would now be filtering through social networking websites such as Facebook.

“We want to try and reach those people who know Tom so they can get the message out there,” he said.

DCI Luckett said they had been exploring a number of avenues - including looking at Mr Armstrong’s financial transactions - and passing details to Thai police to help them trace his movements.

“It’s too early to speculate about what has happened - the priority is to find him,” he continued. “We are working closely with Tom’s family - it’s important that we know as much about him as possible.

“To that end I would encourage anyone - friends both at home and abroad - who might be able to help to get in touch.”

Meanwhile the community here in Suffolk has rallied round to spread the word about Mr Armstrong’s disappearance. Former diving instructor Shane Free, from Leiston, used to work in Thailand before a horrific accident left him with a severe brain injury and he was forced to come home.

He and his mother, Monica Vearer, have sent out more than 100 emails to diving centres in Phuket, Krabi, Pattaya and Koh Tao, as well as contacting friends and Thai newspapers.

Ms Vearer said: “As soon as we heard we wanted to help. Hopefully something will come of this. It will take a little time but we will do all we can.”

Anyone with information about Mr Armstrong should call Suffolk police on 101.

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  • The diving community is very close knit both on Koh Tao and across the world and people who knew Tom and even those who didn't have posted the appeal link on their Facebook pages in the hope that someone we know can help. Our thoughts are with Toms family at this time and we pray for his safe return.

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