THE search for a Sedbergh man missing while on holiday in Madeira is being conducted solely by firefighters, according to Portuguese sources.

Madeira Regional Command has also issued a statement on the search for Darren Kay, a keen fell-runner, who was on holiday in the town of Calheta on the Portuguese island with his partner.

They went for a two-hour run on the afternoon of Sunday, December 11.

He had told his partner that he would carry on running for another 30 minutes, but never returned.

Mr Kay's brother Jonny said: "She was just waiting for him and he didn't come back."

Mr Kay's family did not have much information but understood windy weather conditions and high tides had prevented searches in some areas, his brother told the BBC.

Police in Calheta confirmed to The Westmorland Gazette that a search for Mr Kay was being resumed at 10am on Wednesday.

According to a Portuguese publication, the search was resumed but only by Calheta firefighters.

The search began at 10am in the same place as Tuesday - Faja do Mar, Arco da Calheta, with four firefighters and one other vehicle at the scene.

The publication stated that as far as it was possible to verify, the PSP (Public Security Police) had cancelled their searches on Wednesday.

Mr Kay's brother said he hoped to encourage people on the island to help with the search but did not know 'how realistic that is'.

Mr Kay said: "We would urge any local resident or tourist who saw Darren running alone on Sunday afternoon to come forward to the police so his last location can be pinpointed."

Mr Kay's parents travelled out to the Portuguese island on Monday but his brother had to wait for a flight from Manchester on Tuesday that was delayed by the weather.

"That's the frustration of being sat here all day because it's a day wasted when we could have been looking," he said.

Mr Kay is originally from Bolton and is well-known within the fell-running community, having been a runner for around 20 years.

His brother said he had competed for England and was a part of the Calder Valley Fell Runners.

A statement issued by the Madeira Regional Command to the Westmorland Gazette at 4 pm on Wednesday, December 14, stated:

"When the circumstances of the disappearance were known, the human and technical resources available to perform location searches in the indicated area were immediately triggered, either by the PSP (Public Security Police), through the Calheta Police Station, or by the Calheta Fire Brigade.

"The missing person could not be traced as a result of these searches.

"During the days of December 12 and 13, new searches were carried out in the reference area, which were reinforced by additional human and material means of the PSP, as well as by other civil protection agents, namely the Maritime Police, who articulated themselves and constituted multidisciplinary teams in order to verify a larger area possible in areas where the citizen could most likely be located missing.

"Among other available resources, the Mountain Search, Rescue, Rescue and Rescue Brigade was used, with cynotechnical means of Search and Rescue and also drones, in order to maximize the search.

"The work was largely hampered by unfavourable weather conditions.

"These searches also failed to produce any objective results that would allow the missing citizen to be located.

"This occurrence was reported to all bodies and authorities with legal jurisdiction over the matter, and as for subsequent steps that may be carried out, the Regional Command of PSP, at this time can not advance other information."