23 Jul 2016

Police may scale back search for missing woman

5:11 pm on 23 July 2016

Police are considering scaling back the search for an Upper Hutt woman who's been missing since Tuesday.

There have been many reported sightings of Mary Berrington, 62, since Wednesday when she was reported missing.

Mary Berrington

Mary Berrington Photo: NZ Police

Police said more than 50 staff and volunteers have been involved in the search, and the Police Dive Squad has searched the Hutt River.

They said the search would continue tomorrow but may be scaled back as they have finished searching all the areas Ms Berrington was likely to be.

"While the search will continue tomorrow we are coming to a point where we need to assess our efforts thus far and consider scaling back our search efforts to a point where all reasonable searching has been completed to the best of our ability."

Ms Berrington has a history of mental illness and had stopped taking her medication shortly before she disappeared.

Police said they had grave concerns for Ms Berrington, who has a degree of mental impairment and may not be in a position to help herself at the moment.

Sergeant Anthony Harmer said there would be an intensive search of properties and buildings in the immediate vicinity of Ms Berrington's home in Upper Hutt.

He said people who lived in and around Fergusson Drive should expect to see search and rescue teams in the area and shouldn't be surprised to see them on private property.

Searchers would be easily identifiable by their uniform, and would introduce themselves to people on the property when they arrived, he said.

"Our search teams will make themselves known to home owners when they arrive at a property. The teams will be searching gardens and bush areas of properties and any out buildings such as sheds or garages."

The police dive squad would also be assessing the Hutt River south of the Totara Park overbridge.

The search operation is being led by Wellington Police Search and Rescue with support from Land Search and Rescue teams from across Wellington and Horowhenua, Upper Hutt Community Rescue, Hutt Emergency Response Team and concerned family members and the community.