The family of missing Glenrothes man Allan Bryant have launched a scathing attack on Police Scotland for their early handling of the inquiry into their son’s disappearance.
The man’s father Allan Bryant Snr said at times the investigation had been “a joke” and was akin to being something being run by the “boy scouts”.
The comments came in an emotionally charged Police press conference on Monday, exactly a year to the day since Allan was last seen leaving Styx nightclub in the early hours of November 3, 2013.
The press briefing had been arranged to highlight enhanced CCTV images being made public today which show Allan’s last confirmed movements, in particular the distinctive clothing he can be seen wearing.
Officers leading the search, the most extensive missing persons search ever undertaken in Fife, have been heavily criticised by the family for the seven and a half month delay in releasing the footage.
Chief Inspector Nicola Shepherd from Glenrothes Police Station conceded that the footage could have been released sooner but added that the force had acted on legal advice given to them at the time, which restricted the use of the footage because of the legality of other persons also featured being identified.
But she added: “We are definitely not at an dead end, we are pursuing a number of lines of enquiry that we can not speak about.”
She also said the scale of the search had been “massive” and added that without the resources of Police Scotland the Fife force would have struggled to take the inquiry further.
“The search has been huge from airborne to water seraches. Hundreds of statements have been noted and it’s a major, major inquiry.”
Police also confirmed for the first time that an alleged incident involving Allan at a shop in Macedonia in which he was alleged to have been threatened with being killed had also been fully investigated but had brought them no closer to finding Allan.
Mr Bryant Snr did, however say that he now had more faith in the current investigating team and added that someone within the local community knows how or why his son has disappeared.
He added: “I believe the police need to go back and re-evaluate everyone who has made a statement, the answer is there in the police files.”
The press conference came just hours after 200 people took part in a candle-lit vigil.
Something of Allan to hold on to
Allan’s parents have spoken of the “immense comfort” they have taken from a small bear which has been specially made from clothes belonging to their son.
The gesture was made by a member of the public and has helped the family with the sense of loss since their son’s disappearance.
Embossed with Allan’s name and also featuring the club crest from his beloved Celtic football shirt Mr Bryant Snr said the gesture has given them something to hold on to and keep close in their darkest moments.
‘Every day, every night we miss Allan so much’
Around 200 Glenrothes folk braved the November evening chill to show their support for the Bryant family on the eve of the first anniversary of their son’s disappearance.
A candle-lit vigil close to Styx nightclub - the location of the last known confirmed sighting of Allan Bryant - was preceded by a short film consisting of photographs of Allan taken throughout his life and projected onto a large screen.
In a highly emotional address, his father, Allan Bryant Snr, spoke of his family’s “living hell” and described the last year as “every parent’s worst nightmare”.
“As I look at everyone holding candles, it’s really heart wrenching to see the support you are giving my family,” he told the gathering.
“The past year has been a living hell for us, day by day, night by night.
“We love and miss Allan so much. What has touched our hearts most is the general public can relate to this because it could have been one of their own.
“Myself, Marie - Allan’s mum - Amy and Sophie - Allan’s two sisters - we can’t thank you enough for what you have done for our son.
Mr Bryant also went on to thank the Gazette for helping to keep the family’s plight in the public eye over a traumatic last 12 months.
Chief Inspector Nicola Shepherd, leading the investigation also spoke to the public praising the family’s courage and resilience.
She also reassured the public that the police remained “committed and totally focused “on finding Allan.
Glenrothes councillor Peter Grant, who attended the vigil, told the Gazette he wanted to urge anyone who knew anything but was remaining silent possibly because of a “misguided loyalty to a friend or family member” to come forward and speak to the police.
The vigil was concluded by all candles being placed around a large appeal poster of Allan as the search for his whereabouts continues.