The man told hotel staff he was off for a mountain bike ride in the Cheviots. Photo: Lisa Jarvis CC-BY-SA-2.0

The man told hotel staff he was off for a mountain bike ride in the Cheviots. Photo: Lisa Jarvis CC-BY-SA-2.0

A huge search in appalling weather for a mystery mountain biker in the Cheviots has been called off.

Northumbria Police said they are no longer searching for a missing man.

A spokesperson said: “It is believed the man gave hotel staff a false name and false information about going cycling on the Cheviots and is not missing.”

Volunteers from three mountain rescue teams spent a night scouring the hills around Wooler after a man called David Bibby was reported missing. He failed to return to his hotel, the Black Bull in the Northumberland town, after telling staff he was ‘going for a long ride’ on Wednesday.

An RAF Sea King helicopter also joined the search, using night goggles and a heat-detecting camera as the search progressed in blizzards and storm-force winds.

Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team, North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team and Border Search and Rescue Unit all took part in the major search, both overnight into Thursday and through the following day.

Damon Rodwell of BSARU said: “The conditions on the ridge were possibly the worst I’ve ever experienced. Driving horizontal snow and hail made it really pretty unpleasant.

“The strength of the gusts bowling in from the West was extraordinary. It’s difficult to convey the severity of the weather.”

The mystery mountain biker, who police described as 5ft 10ins (1.78m), tall, in his 40s, of slim build and wearing cycling clothing, left no route plan with hotel staff.

Northumbria Police said: “Hotel staff made the report in good faith and police are carrying enquiries to identify the man and speak to him about the incident.”

Police thanked those who took part in the search and members of the public for their help.

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