Hunt for Briton and his friend after belongings found on beach

19 February 2019, 02:15 | Updated: 19 February 2019, 13:37

A British man has gone missing from a popular beach north of Sydney in Australia.

Police are searching for 20-year-old Hugo Palmer and his friend, Frenchman Erwan Ferrieux, also 20, after their belongings were found by early morning walkers at about 6.30am local time on Monday at Shelley Beach, New South Wales.

Police later discovered their rental car in the beach's car park with a number of personal items, including travel documents, inside.

It is not known how long they had been in Australia.

New South Wales Police said a water and ground search was under way, but that there had not yet been any sign of the pair.

Inspector Michael Aldridge told the Port Macquarie News that the two men had arrived in the area on Sunday morning.

"We believe from information provided so far that the items may have been there since Sunday evening as well," he said.

He described the surf conditions as "terrible" over the past few days.

Mr Palmer is described as being of Caucasian appearance, with fair hair, 5ft 11in tall and of athletic build.

Mr Ferrieux has dark hair, brown eyes, a tanned complexion and is of a similar height to his friend.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: "Our staff are in contact with police in Australia and the UK following reports of a missing British man at Shelly beach, New South Wales."