Friends and family of missing Newtownabbey man Dean McIlwaine gathered at Belfast City Hall on Monday night to search for him.

Dean McIlwaine (22) has not been seen since 1pm on July 13. He was last spotted in the Carnmoney Road area of Newtownabbey close to the Hill Tavern bar.

Dean is described as being 5’8” in height; of medium build with blue eyes, dark hair and a beard. He also has sleeve tattoos on both arms.

There has been growing concern since the barber, who was due to open a new shop at the end of the month, went missing.

To hear anything from him, or about him would be like winning the lottery.

Friends, family and members of the public gathered at City Hall on Monday night at 8pm.

There have been reports of Dean having been in the area.

Speaking on the BBC Stephen Nolan show, friend Davy urged anyone with information to contact the police straightaway.

“We have hit a brick wall,” he told the BBC.

“This is completely out of character for Dean. He is always in contact… always on the phone annoying someone. And that’s the worrying thing, it is now day four, and there has been nothing at all from him.”

He said he didn’t want to think about what may have happened.

“It’s scary, people say no news is good news. To hear anything from him, something, would be like winning the lottery.”

Davy said hundreds of people had helped in the search effort so far and they were very grateful. Speaking ahead of the search he said: “If anyone wants to get involved, the more eyes the better. This will be a thorough search of the city and we want to give his family some good news. I can’t imagine what they are going through.

“An appeal to help locate him has gone viral on social media.

“If we can get as many people sharing, It’s at times like these that you realise how important it is to have people. We all need, as a country as a whole to get together and be there for each other.”

On Sunday European flyweight boxing champion Paddy Barnes shared the police appeal over the missing man on his Twitter account. The north Belfast boxer is currently on his honeymoon.

Sergeant David Coulter said that police are becoming increasingly concerned regarding Dean’s whereabouts.

“Dean is described as being 5ft 8ins in height; of medium build with blue eyes, dark hair and a beard.

“He also has sleeve tattoos on both arms,” he said.

“He was last seen in the Carnmoney Road area of Newtownabbey on Thursday, July 13 at around 1pm, wearing a light coloured T-shirt, blue denim shorts and flip-flops.

“We would ask Dean or anyone who has seen him or knows his whereabouts to make contact with police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 121 of 14/7/17.”

Sergeant David Coulter said: “Police are becoming increasingly concerned about the whereabouts of 22 year old Dean…

Posted by PSNI Newtownabbey on Friday, July 14, 2017

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