Wanted man's body heat exposes his hiding place

Tuesday 28 November 2023

A man, who was wanted by Wiltshire Police, was found by a National Police Air Service helicopter crew after his body heat transferred through a wooden fence that he was hiding behind.

Following a two-hour ground search for the man in the Okehampton area of Devon, the helicopter based at NPAS Exeter was deployed just after midnight on Tuesday 7 November 2023.  

Twenty minutes after arriving on the scene, and whilst conducting a thermal search of the area, the crew identified an unusual patch of heat on a wooden fence which surrounded a wheelie bin store.  Unsure, from 1,000 feet above, what was causing this heat spot, the crew directed police officers to the location.

Behind the bin, they found the wanted man hiding. The man was so close to the wooden fence that his body heat had transferred through the fence causing the heat spot that was visible to the crew.

Crew member Mark Gamson, a Tactical Flight Officer, said: “The helicopter’s thermal camera is invaluable at night, saving hours on the ground and, more importantly, ensuring wanted people and suspects are brought to justice.”

Thermal photo of police finding wanted man behind a fence