Police use moon to help find missing person in East Midlands

14 January 2021, 19:44 | Updated: 14 January 2021, 19:55

A sergeant used this image alone to help locate a missing person
A sergeant used this image alone to help locate a missing person. Picture: Northamptonshire Police
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A perceptive police officer has used a picture of the moon to help him find a missing person in the East Midlands.

Sergeant Scott Garbett of Northamptonshire Police was praised for his "cracking detective work" after using the celestial searchlight to pinpoint the location of the vulnerable man.

The missing person was last seen pictured on an unknown country road in the Northamptonshire countryside a day before New Year's Eve, with just some trees and the moon visible in the photo.

Despite the lack of information available in the image, the officer put his astute detective skills to work.

Sergeant Garbett compared the picture with satellite maps and where the moon was in the sky to establish where to send officers, who found the individual a short time later.

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The sergeant used the position of the moon to find the individual
The sergeant used the position of the moon to find the individual. Picture: PA

“All we could see from the photo was that it was a road in a rural location, with double-yellow lines, some trees and the moon at the top of the image," the sergeant explained.

“Due to the road markings and the lack of signage, I worked on the basis that it was a B road, as opposed to an urban one, and as the man was on foot, worked out how far he could have feasibly travelled from the location in which he went missing.

“I could see the general path of the road from the image and a bend ahead so I used the position of the moon to calculate the direction of travel, which was roughly to the east.

“From that point, I was then able to rule out all of the roads in the local area that don't go in this direction and started using satellite maps to find the road that it was likely to be by comparing the road markings and positioning of trees on either side close to the bends.

“Finally, I managed to narrow it down to Brampton Road, which I confirmed on Google street view, before sending officers to the location.”

The missing man was eventually found by police
The missing man was eventually found by police. Picture: Google Street View

The missing man was found at the location thanks to the impressive work of Sergeant Garbett and officers were then able to safeguard him.

Inspector James Elliot, said: “This was some absolutely cracking detective work by Scott whose actions allowed us to quickly find this man and get him the support he needed.

“We have never had an instance where the positioning of the moon has been used as a way to find someone but Scott is so clever that he had to be the one to make this change.”