Ray Mears, the television personality and survival expert, has broken his silence on helping out in the man-hunt for killer Raoul Moat in the woodland around Rothbury, Northumberland, in July 2010.

The bush tracker became involved in the massive operation after contacting a police search advisor he had met years earlier.

Speaking this week to the Gloucestershire Echo, the 49-year-old said when he arrived in Rothbury it was like something out of a "Hollywood film set," with bright searchlights, police snipers and helicopters. 

"It was such a unique set of circumstances. I have experience of tracking for 40 years. I can't imagine there would be that many people in the country who would have been in a position to help the police find someone who had gone into hiding who needed to be found," he said, adding that he got within "20ft" of the dangerous killer at one stage in the hunt.

Moat, 37, who had previously worked as a bouncer, had only just been released from prison when he murdered Chris Brown, 29 (not him), for starting a relationship with his ex-girlfriend. The next day, he shot an unarmed policeman in the face, leaving him blind. The officer, PC David Rathband, was found hanged last year.

Moat was finally cornered on the bank of a river in Rothbury on the evening of July 9 after a six-hour standoff with armed police. Moat shot himself in the head as officers fired Tasers to try and disable him. 

A Northumbria Police spokesman confirmed this week: "We can confirm Ray Mears did assist in this investigation, as did several other agencies and specialists."

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