DETECTIVES believe a man who mysteriously went missing from his home nearly fours years ago may have been murdered.

Jose Larios, known as Pepe, had lived in Grays for several years aftermoving to England from Spain at the age of 14.

He was unemployed at the time of his disappearance in July 2003 and told friends he was planning to hitch-hike to Spain to see relatives when he went missing without a trace.

Just two days after his 58th birthday detectives leading the hunt for Mr Larios have renewed their appeals for information about his disappearance, but said he may be dead. Det Con Ian Rayner of the Brentwood Major Investigations Team said: "Pepe has not been seen or heard of since July 2003.

"He has not contacted family or friends. He has not been back to his flat, nor has he used his bank account.

"Police have conducted extensive enquiries, but to date have been unable to trace his whereabouts. We have grave concerns for his welfare.

"It is possible he has been murdered and Essex Police is appealing for any information as to his current whereabouts."

Mr Larios is white, about 5ft 11ins tall, slim with shaved dark hair. He has a tattoo of a boxer on his upper right arm and a one of a ship on his upper left arm.

Mr Larios, who also uses the names Luis Jose Morales Larios, Pepe Larios and Jose Morales, was last seen wearing green Bermuda shorts, a short-sleeved t-shirt and black strappy sandals.

He last lived in New Road, Grays.

Anyone with information about Mr Larios can contact Det Con Rayner at Brentwood MIT on 01277 262220 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.