Thanks for your reply Sam
Yes, my initial thought was he had gone off looking for ladies, and he did disappear for about 4 days prior to this (probably due to that) and I swore then I would get him done but he disappeared before I could do anything about it and he's now been gone for about a week and a half
I've only had him for about a year, I kind of inherited him from someone else who for some reason had strong views against neutering him and told me it would "spoil" him, and being that I wasn't any sort of cat expert I went along with it until the previous time he went missing when I looked up advice on why he was wandering off and realised it would probably be for the best. Now I know for definite it would be for the best and thankyou very much for the advice, I am certain it is the right thing to do, and would stop all this worry (and the noisy fighting - there are several toms in my street.)
Thankyou also for the list of hints and tips, they have helped a lot and I plan to follow all of the advice you sent me in the hope of getting Cheeky home safely.
I will definitely keep you updated! Fingers crossed!