3pm UPDATE: It is now more than a week since Robbie Gibson left his Crystal Palace home to “walk off the adrenaline”, and has not been back since, leaving his family and friends increasingly anxious about his well-being.
At lunchtime today, the police published news of a sighting of Gibson last Monday, travelling to the Isle of Wight.
Well-known as a leading figure in the Save Upper Norwood Library campaign and closely involved in other community activities, including the Sensible Garden and the Crystal Palace Saturday market, Gibson’s absence has caused the missing persons unit at Lambeth police to say that they are “growing increasingly concerned”.
Gibson had been unwell for a few weeks since taking part in the Carnegie Library occupation in April.
Gibson’s many friends and Crystal Palace community groups have in the past week led a high-profile awareness campaign, including four organised searches across the weekend, covering parks in and around Crystal Palace, as well as leafleting at railway terminuses in central London.
Until today’s police update, Gibson’s last known presence was at East Croydon on the afternoon of Monday June 13.
But today, the police states: “Officers have since been informed that Robert was seen at 18.45hrs that day catching the catamaran from Portsmouth to Ryde. He is then believed to have boarded a train at Ryde Pier Head towards Lake and Shanklin.
“Officers have released a CCTV image in the hope that somewhere may know where he is staying. Robert is known to enjoy coastal walks and often stays on campsites.”
Friends have been doing their best to disperse flyers and posters throughout south London with networks also contacted in Brighton, Cambridge, where Gibson went to university, and Northern Ireland, where he is from. Favourite holiday locations on the south coast have also been targeted, as police and his friends widen their search. It is believed that it is the result of these efforts that the new sighting was made.
Joe Duggan, helping co-ordinate the campaign, said, “This is very out of character of Robbie to go missing, and as time goes on everyone’s concern grows. Robert’s wife and son are becoming increasingly worried.”
On Facebook the group Crystal Palace Transition Town has acted as a focus for sharing news and poster distribution.
Twitter has been particularly effective in getting more people to keep an eye out for Robbie, with celebrity tweets from Boy George, Captain Sensible, Sara Cox, Zoe Ball, Jo Joyner, Jimmy Bullard, Sam Bailey, Theo Paphitis and Bake off winner Nadiya Hussain, with many using the #FindRobbie hashtag.
Gibson is around 6ft tall, slim frame and has with a Northern Irish accent. He wears black-rimmed Prada glasses and was last seen wearing a grey T-shirt and a green Barbour coat.
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