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HEROES...


CONTROLLER AND DRIVER FROM iCARS SWALE FIND MISSING MAN


Janice Crawford and Neil McLennan


A man and woman have been arrested following a major search to find a missing pensioner - thanks to a tip-off from a sharp-eyed Sheppey taxi driver. Many Islanders and a police helicopter took part in the


hunt for former school teacher Doug Kimber, 76. At one point there were so many volunteers they were asked to stay in their cars as the helicopter crew was picking them up on a heat-seeking camera. The two suspects were arrested after a tip-off from iCars cab- bie Janice Crawford, 53. She says she had them and Mr Kimber in the back of her cab on the day of the search. Neil McLennan, iCars’ controller, said: “When I saw Mr Kimber’s photo posted on Facebook I forwarded it all our drivers and asked them to keep a look out for him. When Janice saw it she was convinced she had just had him in the back of her cab, so we called 999.” Mrs Crawford said: “I picked all three of them up in Sheerness. The woman seemed to be in charge and did all the talking. She wanted to go to Queenborough Co-op but then changed her mind and asked to be dropped off in Noreen Avenue. “I had to pick up another fare so had to leave them there. But when Neil showed me the photo I told him I thought the man had been my last fare. I had some concerns at the time but not enough to flag up under safeguarding.” Alan Bolshaw, who chairs the licensing committee of Wolver- hampton City Council, where iCars is licensed, said: “We recognise taxi drivers can act as ‘the eyes and ears of the com- munity’ on identifying safeguarding issues. Public safety is our foremost priority when licensing drivers. All our private hire drivers undertake mandatory safeguarding training. “Thankfully, our driver training programme played an impor- tant role in this instance with Janice being able to recognise a potential safeguarding situation and take the appropriate action.”


Mr Kimber was reported missing on Sunday, January 10. His son Neil said: “I’d like to thank everyone for helping look for my dad. It seemed like the whole island came out on a dark and wet Sunday night. It was a great community spirit.” Mr Kimber was later found safe in Queenborough. iCars told PHTM: “We are exceptionally proud of both our controller Neil and our driver Janice for remembering so much detail which resulted in the man being found.”


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