UK
04/09/2013 10:29 BST | Updated 04/09/2013 10:34 BST

Ray Mears Reveals He Helped Track Down Killer Raoul Moat In Northumberland

PA
Survival expert Ray Mears helped police track down the killer

Ray Mears has revealed he used his tracking skills to lead police officers to armed fugitive Raoul Moat in 2010.

The survival expert told local paper the Gloucestershire Echo that he used his expertise to aid the police when the dangerous killer was hiding out in woodland near Rothbury in Northumberland.

At one point Mears said he was within 20ft of the gunman after tracking him for eight hours.

Moat, 37, had been on the run for a week in July 2010 after shooting his former partner Samantha Stobbart, killing her new boyfriend Chris Brown and blinding PC David Rathband by shooting him in the face.

Mears told the paper he felt the need to step in and offer his skills in the search for the dangerous killer.

When the 49-year-old presenter arrived in Rothbury he described the scene – scattered with specialist police snipers, helicopters circling overhead and an RAF Tornado GR4 jet doing reconnaissance sorties – as like something “out of a Hollywood film set”.

He said: “It was all a bit surreal. This is the first time I’ve talked about it and it’s because I feel there has been sufficient water under the bridge.”

Mears said he had not wanted his involvement in the incident to be reported because he feared "people would think it was a publicity stunt" and it is only now, with his autobiography set to be released on September 12, that he feels he can speak out.

He told local paper that "a lot of people claimed for some reason to have been there but I know, because I was there, that they were not. I have experience of tracking for 40 years.

Paul Gascoigne, the former England international footballer, notoriously jumped in a cab and took a fishing rod, lager and some chicken in a separate search for Moat.

Gascoigne appeared in the Northumberland town on Friday night in an attempt to smooth negotiations between police and the fugitive, which had been ongoing for several hours.

The retired footballer, 43, said he was a "good friend" of Moat and had brought him a "can of lager, some chicken, a mobile phone and something to keep warm".

He told Metro Radio: "He is willing to give in now. I just want to give him some therapy and say 'come on Moaty, it's Gazza'.

"He is all right – simply as that and I am willing to help him. I have come all the way from Newcastle to Rothbury to find him, have a chat with him.

"I guarantee, Moaty, he won't shoot me. I am good friends with him."

Moat, who was finally found on July 10 and after a six-hour stand-off with armed officers, shot himself dead.

PC Rathband hanged himself 19 months after Moat’s attack.