Gboyega Odubanjo: Police ask people not to set up own search parties for missing poet

Gboyega Odubanjo has been missing since Saturday, when he was wearing the clothes on the left.
Credit: Northamptonshire Police
Gboyega Odubanjo was wearing the clothes on the left when he was last seen. Credit: Northamptonshire Police

Police searching for a poet who went missing at an arts festival have asked members of the public not to put themselves at risk by forming their own search parties.

Gboyega Odubanjo, 27, was last seen on Saturday, hours before he was due to perform at the Shambala festival in Northamptonshire.

When he failed to turn up for his set, worried friends reported him missing and have since made emotional appeals for information over his whereabouts, which they say is out of character for him.

Police have searched the festival site and surrounding area, supported by members of lowland search and rescue teams, and are growing increasingly concerned for him.

However, they have asked people not to carry out their own searches, because of the dangerous terrain.

Det Insp Nick Peters, of CID, said: “We are increasingly concerned about Gboyega, and are repeating our appeal for anyone with information that could help us to find him to get in touch immediately.

“We know he attended the festival with friends, and became separated from them in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Gboyega Odubanjo has not been seen since the early hours of Saturday. Credit: Northamptonshire Police

“Specialist officers have been searching the area in case something untoward has happened to Gboyega, but at this stage there is no evidence or suggestion of criminality and this remains a missing persons inquiry.

“We appreciate the love and concern that is being shown for Gboyega, but would continue to ask that no-one attempts to conduct their own search for him due to the risks posed by the nature of the terrain.

“I’d like to reassure people that we have a team of officers dedicated to following all lines of inquiry in order to find Gboyega, including investigating all reported sightings. We are liaising with his family and keeping them informed of our progress."

Mr Odubanjo is an award-winning poet, his pamphlet Aunty Uncle Poems having won the Poetry Business New Poets prize in 2020. He also won the 2021 Eric Gregory award.

His work has also appeared in the Guardian, The Poetry Review and New Statesman.

Mr Odubanjo’s best friend, Tice Cin, described him as the "light of my life", adding: "We need help bringing him home, nobody deserves to go missing in a society with all the resources to find our loved ones."

He is described as 5ft 6ins tall, with short black dreadlocks and a full-face beard.

He wears glasses and was last seen wearing a beige bucket hat, a red and white striped gilet with black clothing underneath, black trousers and dark coloured shoes.

He is from the Bromley area of London.

Anyone who has seen Mr Odubanjo is asked to call 999, or 101 with other information.

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