Page last updated at 15:22 GMT, Sunday, 20 April 2008 16:22 UK

Police appeal for mother's return

Old picture of James Hughes
Mr Hughes has a number of problems, police have said

There are serious concerns for the safety of a mother and her son, 22 on Sunday and who has the mental age of an 18-month-old child, police have said.

Heather Wardle, 39, of Redditch, Worcs, went missing with son James Hughes on Friday evening after saying she was going to a friend's home.

Mr Hughes, who has epilepsy, uses a wheelchair and needs constant care.

His mother has not taken her handbag or mobile and has been under pressure, West Mercia police have said.

Your little boys just want their mummy home safely
Det Insp Jon Marsden

Police appealed to the mother to get in touch, saying her partner, Brian Kirby, and her other three children were very worried.

The Arrow Valley country park, where the family regularly go, has been searched.

Det Insp Jon Marsden appealed to the mother, saying: "We know that caring for a person with James' complex problems can be overwhelming.

"It is entirely understandable that the day to day challenges of looking after James may have got on top of you.

"There are organisations which can help. Your family are desperately worried and missing you very much.

"In particular your little boys just want their mummy home safely."

Midlands accent

He added that while police are assuming they are together, they have no proof of this.

Det Insp Marsden said: "Several witnesses have told us they saw a woman pushing someone in a wheelchair in the country park on Saturday afternoon.

"But we have not been able to confirm this was Heather and James."

Police said the pair have not gone missing before and their disappearance is totally out of character.

Mr Hughes, who has difficulties in communicating, has "no sense of danger", police said.

He is described as white, 5ft 4ins tall, of thin build, with short mousy hair and looks younger than his age, police said.

Although he can walk, he walks as if he is intoxicated and usually uses a wheelchair.

His mother is white, with shoulder length dark brown hair and a Midlands accent. She is possibly wearing jeans and trainers.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Redditch police.

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