Police have confirmed that they have received a number of claims of sightings of missing Bristol veteran DJ Derek, real name Derek Serpell-Morris.
The 73-year-old, known as “Britain’s oldest DJ”, was previously thought to have been last seen in Bristol city centre on July 10 but now Avon and Somerset Police have stated that he may have sighted at Yate bus station (approximately 11 miles northeast of Bristol) on either July 16 or 17.
“As a result of this new information, we’re re-focusing our search efforts in the Yate area,” a spokesman for the local police force has said.
Other alleged sightings have also taken place at Cribbs Causeway (12 miles north of Bristol) and Thornbury (also 12 miles away).
Detective Inspector Chris Jay says: “Since Derek was reported missing, on Thursday 23 July, we’ve conducted a thorough and wide-spread search investigation.”
“This has involved detailed CCTV examinations, house-to-house enquiries and physical searches. We have also had a large number of reported sightings following our public appeal and we are working through all of these.”
“This new credible sighting in Yate will mean we will re-focus our efforts in this area and I would ask anyone who was in the vicinity of Yate bus station on July 16/17 to come forward.”
“I would also ask anyone who regularly uses public transport within Yate, Cribbs Causeway or Thornbury to come forward if they have any information.”
“Any information, no matter how small or insignificant you may think it is, might prove crucial to this investigation.”
Morris’ niece, Jennifer Amy, has said his disappearance is “completely out of character”. She told BBC News: “I’ve left numerous messages for him and he hasn’t got back – if he goes away he always lets me know. His friends have been in touch to say he hasn’t been in contact. We’re all extremely worried.”
Aside from a one-off show on New Year’s Eve last year, Morris retired from DJing in 2013. He built a reputation for playing rocksteady, reggae, ska, dancehall and soul during his career which featured slots at Glastonbury and the Big Chill.
Morris launched his DJ career in his mid-30s after working in the accounts department of confectionery firm Cadbury’s. In 2006, he told the BBC that he left the firm after years of “domestic hell” before starting work as a DJ in a Bristol pub.
Over more than 40 years he established himself as a fixture on the city’s clubbing scene. In 2012 he won the Lord Mayor’s medal for his “outstanding” contribution to the music scene in the city.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4 at the time, he said he finished most sets with the Bob Marley classic ‘One Love’. He said: “It’s a perfect signing-off record for a reggae set – let’s get together and feel all right. So next time, people, let’s get together and feel all right.”