THE parents of a missing teenage boy have spoken of their anguish after he vanished while walking alone in the Hampshire countryside.

An army of volunteers, police dogs and helicopters were scouring the New Forest countryside all day yesterday amid fears Ross Haughey might be injured and at risk in the freezing conditions.

The 17-year-old went missing on Sunday at 1.30pm after leaving his home in Abbotswell Road, in Frogham, telling parents Brian and Penelope he was going for a hike.

Police are growing increasingly concerned for his safety because his family say that, while he regularly likes to walk and run in the Forest, he usually comes back after a few hours.

Penelope said: “We are extremely concerned because it was totally out of character.

We just don’t know whether he has fallen and hurt himself.

“We thought he had gone out to lift the spirits and gone off for a walk. He is very determined and will go for long walks.”

Ross, who is studying for his A-levels at The Burgate School, in Fordingbridge, has had bouts of depression and appeared down over the half-term. He was due to return to school yesterday.

But the teenager has never gone missing overnight before, and his mum said he appeared happy when he told her he was going for a walk while she was working in the garden.

He had even packed his rucksack and made himself a roll.

Usually he uses the paths and tracks towards Fritham near the streams, Hyde Farm Shop or around the Gorley area.

Ross is fit and used to walking and running long distances, so may have gone further afield.

Sgt Simon Flint said: “We’ve had officers out searching for Ross with the assistance of search volunteers (HANTSAR).

“Police dogs units and the Dorset Police air support unit have also been assisting local officers by searching the area.

“I would urge anyone who has seen Ross or has any idea where he may be to get in contact.”

Ross is described as slim, 5ft 10in, with short dark hair and was wearing a grey top with a hood. He was also wearing jeans and white running shoes with a green edging.

He took with him a wax jacket-style coat in a rucksack.

l Anyone who has seen Ross or has any idea where he may be is urged to call Ringwood police on 101.