Let's hear it for the Met


Registered User
Aug 11, 2005
South-East London, UK
Let's hear it for the Met!

Hi everyone,

Thought you might like to hear about my husband's little escapade yesterday.

I left him at home (can do so quite safely for a few hours during the day) at midday to go and do some Christmas shopping. Got home at 2.30, to find a note saying that he had gone out and would be back by 3. (I should mention that he has been going out on his own less and less in recent months and usually only for a brief bus ride to buy a paper and home again.

As the afternoon wore on, and it got dark, I moved from slightly concerned to rather anxious to very worried to verging on frantic. At 6 o'clock I phoned the police. They took the details and said they would send an officer round but they had a lot of calls to deal with.

An hour or so later, the officer I had spoken to phoned to apologise for the delay and to say someone was now on their way. She was very understanding and kept me fully informed of what steps they had taken to start looking for him.

Two officers arrived shortly afterwards, who talked through where he might have gone and reassured me that, in almost all cases, the missing person arrives home five minutes after the police have left. They were very sympathetic and helpful.

Guess what? Five minutes after they had left to scour the neighbouring streets and High Street they were back with husband in tow. They had found him a couple of streets away, presumably on his way home. He had been "missing" for over six hours.

I know it's easy to say after the event, but I knew he would turn up all right and I also knew that the most frustrating thing (for me) would be that he would not remember where he had been all that time. Not only could he not remember, he was most put out at the suggestion that he had been gone so long. Wanted to know why I hadn't phoned him. "You haven't got a phone", I told him. "Well, what about your phone?" "I've got my phone", and so on in one of our familiar circular conversations.

As soon as the police had gone, he could not remember that they had been, and brought him home in a police car!

I talked this over with someone on the AS helpline, and they suggested that, unless this sort of thing became a regular event, I shouldn't try and stop my husband going out (as if I could) and everything was a case of weighing the risks.


PS Before anyone suggests my husband having a mobile phone, I tried that 18 months ago. He simply could not understand how to use it (he could have phoned home pressing only two buttons), nor could he hear/feel it when I rang him, so it would not have helped in locating him.

NB Someone, please tell me how to start a new thread! I didn't mean this to go on this thread but I can't seem to change it.
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Registered User
Jul 2, 2005
When my husband went walkabout - or more correctly driveabout, as he took the hire car - in Crete, the police were a bit different. Once they had got over thinking we must have had a row and he was in a taverna, I had to give endless information about his mother's maiden name, and any physical peculiarities, in a police station,helped by the tour company rep. Eventually, we were all offered a very sticky cake, and a glass of raki, the local hooch - not something you would get here!

They found him eventually, with a different hire car, miles away in the middle of the night, quite unconcerned. This was after 36 hours......


Registered User
Mar 2, 2005
Hello Bets
Gosh you must have been so worried about where he had got to. We had the same experience with Dad last April, he use to help out a caretaker in the local school and finished at 1 every day, this particular day instead of turning right when he left the school someone saw him turn left, and that was the start of the saga !!! 18 hours later we found him. Fortunately we all have cars ( well appart from my mum who cant drive !) and all our friends and neighbours helped to look for him, there must have been about 25 of us. But its like looking for a needle in a haystack ! The Gardai ( police over here) were great as well and eventually someone in a house obviously reported someone suspicious to them and they went to collect him.
Like your husband he had no recollection of walking for that length of time or what the fuss was about or why the whole family were in the house at 6 am !!
I think the hardest thing is that after that, my mother was too afraid to let him out of her sight and now he has someone with him 24hrs. I suppose for as long as you can you weigh up if it is better for him to be independent against how many times would you have to go looking for him and how often he would not find his way home.
Its a hard one as your own independence gets taken away from you and if you are out I suppose you feel you need to rush back to make sure he is ok.
Am not really qualified to give you any good advice but just wanted to say I knew how you felt, and that I was thinking of you.
You get quite a shock when it happens so hopefully you are ok.


Registered User
Dec 11, 2003
Tully, Qld, Australia
Hi Bets,

In the early days my father was brilliant at disappearing acts. He used to like to walk in to town to the Bank. The first time he was brought home by a kind passerby. After that I wrote his name and address on two pieces of paper - on in his jacket pocket and one in his wallet. Other people duly returned him like a library book!

Eventually I took to 'stalking' him when he went out until it became impossible to leave my Mother and pursue my father along the highways and byways.

The final straw happened when I had to leave them both for 10 mins to shoot down to the chemist. I came home to find my Mother distraught and I located Dad on the roof in the pouring rain cleaning leaves out of the gutters. It took me over an hour to get him down again.

The moral is - hide the car keys, 'lose' the bus passes and go out together. A bit more work but the anxiety level is certainly a whole lot less.

Best wishes,



Registered User
Jul 9, 2003
South Coast
It may be worth looking at http://www.fleetonline.net - it is a way of tracking the mobile phone by locating its position relative to mobile phone masts. It was originally for tracking truck and other commercial fleets. It is not a GPS system.

It is more accurate in towns with lots of masts than in the country where masts are more spread out, but gives a pretty close location. I set it up for my husband when he was wandering a lot, but sadly he usually managed to get out without his phone! He was also unable to use a phone normally by then.

This was about 3 years ago, but it was very reasonably priced then - you just had to pay a small fee (£2 or £3) to register for the service and something like 25p for each location requested. My CPN found out about it from a piece on BBC Radio 4. You didn't need any other equipment except the mobile phone and your computer to look up the location.

My husband became well known to the police - including the police helicopter (twice), police spotter plane (once), coastguard search team and police launch (when we were staying in another town with friends), and they always reacted quickly and were very helpful and kept me updated on what they were doing to find him. However, it usually turned out that he was found by friends who were out scouring the area.

Good luck!



Registered User
Aug 11, 2005
South-East London, UK
Thank you all for your responses.

I can't begin to imagine what I would feel if my husband went missing for 36 hours, and abroad!! On our last holiday abroad, three and a half years ago, he had a fall on the second day and split the skin on his elbow. We spent nearly every day for the next week at the hospital, having the dressing changed, and I would catch him taking an aspirin tablet thinking it was the anti-biotics he had been given. He spoke the local language fluently, but I hardly at all, so there was no point in me seeing the doctor with him, or so I thought. Only after our last hospital visit did my husband think to tell me that he doctor he had been seeing spoke English!

I shall certainly look at the websites you mentioned. Many thanks for that info.



Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
I'm glad the police brought him home safely.

I remember when our neighbour's elderly father was found sitting out in the road in his pyjamas crying because he couldn't remember where he lived.

When I was in hospital there was an old lady brought in by the police, she was going down the main road in her nightie in the middle of the night and said she had just gone out to buy a loaf of bread. She didn't have any money or keys and the shops were all closed so the police brought her to the hospital, it took several days for her daughters to find out where she was, but I thought they'd have phoned all the local hospitals when she disappeared from her flat in the night.

My mother was frequently found and brought back by neighbours, except for the time when she was taken to A & E. But she wasn't lost. She remembered where she'd been. Could tell us exactly where she'd had the fall in the road on her way to the pub in her nightie after dark (because her imaginary friends had wafted a message for her to go there).

How could we have stopped her going out, she got violent when I tried locking her in. She was used to going out for long walks after dark before she got ill.