Alice Byrne: Police fly drone over Edinburgh's Portobello beach in search for missing 28-year-old

Police drones took to the air today as part of the search for missing Edinburgh woman Alice Byrne, as locals spoke of how the community has been rocked by her disappearance.

By Rhoda Morrison
Friday, 7th January 2022, 4:56 pm

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Two officers from Police Scotland’s Air Support Unit travelled from Glasgow this morning to carry out the drone searches on Portobello beach.

The 28-year-old has been missing for almost a week, after having been last seen leaving a friend’s house in Malborough Road, just off the seafront, at 10am on New Year’s Day.

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She had been seen by her family some eight hours before, at 2am, at which time she was believed to have been heading to a beach party for New Year celebrations.

CCTV footage gathered by police shows Alice wearing a black t-shirt, black jeans and white trainers at the time she was last seen.

The drone search was the latest one to be carried out by specialist officers, with a dog unit, marine unit and helicopter having been spotted in the area over the last few days.

Police were also seen combing the beach for clues to Alice’s whereabouts on Thursday.

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Alice’s disappearance has rocked the Portobello community, with locals having described it as unsettling, worrying and frightening.

Michelle Killin, who was taking a walk along the promenade with her mother Margaret, said: “The community is very concerned. It’s a very tight knit community in Portobello and everybody’s just going round putting posters up wherever, in the shops, on lamp posts, you see them absolutely everywhere.

“Everyone’s just trying to figure out what’s happened to the poor girl.”

She added: “You don’t think something like that’s going to happen. I’ve got a 12-year-old and I’m more concerned now about letting her do her thing until we find out what’s happened.”

Margaret said she had noticed the police presence in the area but said it was slightly reassuring for those living in Portobello.

“Probably people are quite happy that there are police on the move and things are being done. It’s actually being active and being looked at but it’s quite worrying,” she said.

Claire O’Donnell, who lives in nearby Musselburgh, said the community had turned out to do all they could to help find Alice.

“I think everyone’s quite shocked and everyone’s trying to rally round and do their utmost best to find her,” she said.

“It’s quite scary with it being so close to home and the fact that there’s still no sign of her or any sightings or anything like that. It’s quite scary.”

Maggy Doonan added that the beach and promenade had become much quieter in the days since Alice was reported missing and described the atmosphere in the area as “very, very strange”.

“We walk along here practically everyday, especially during the lockdown, and it’s decimated today,” she said.

“Very few people compared to normal. Cyclists, joggers, it just feels like they’re scared to come out.”

Anyone with any information on Alice’s whereabouts is asked to call Police Scotland on 101 quoting incident number 0647 of January 2.

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