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Plea to cyclists over missing Alice

Detectives hunting for missing schoolgirl Alice Gross have released new pictures of cyclists riding past the spot where the teenager was last seen shortly before her disappearance.

Officers urgently want to track down the riders, who they hope may hold some clues as to the fate of the 14-year-old.

Fears are growing for Alice, who suffers from anorexia and disappeared from her home ten days ago, on Thursday August 28.

These grainy images show three cyclists riding along the towpath by the Trumpers Way Canal Bridge in Hanwell, west London, moments before Alice walks past at 4.23pm.

They are followed by two more cyclists who pass under the bridge on the Grand Union Canal.

Officers have not yet been able to identify the riders and are urging them to come forward. Detective Chief Inspector Andy Chalmers from the Homicide and Major Crime Command said: "I would urge everyone to take a good look at the pictures released today to see if it jogs any memories of the day Alice went missing.

"If you are one of the cyclists pictured then please call the investigation team immediately, because we need to find Alice.

"Her disappearance is out of character and this investigation continues to be a priority for us.

"I would like to directly appeal to anyone who has any information to come forward and speak to us. The information you hold no matter how small may just be the vital piece of information we require."

Police have trawled through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage and carried out "extensive" searches using specialist officers in the hunt for the missing schoolgirl.

Alice was last seen by her family at 1pm on Thursday, 28 August, when she left her home in Hanwell. She told her family she would be back that evening, but failed to return.

She was captured on CCTV at 2.23pm walking alone on the Grand Union Canal tow path in the direction of Kew.

Alice was later caught at the same point along the tow path at 3.45pm heading back towards Hanwell.

Alice is white, 5 ft 2ins tall, very slim build and with shoulder-length, light brown hair.

She was last seen wearing dark blue jeans and a dark green lacy cardigan and carrying a dark rucksack, which was recovered earlier this week. She may have been wearing denim blue 'Vans' shoes and tartan-framed spectacles.

The Metropolitan Police said they are "especially concerned" as Alice has not been in good health recently.

Officers have been out at the towpath today appealing for information. They are also urging anyone who may have befriended Alice whilst on a song-writing workshop at the Camden Roundhouse to come forward.

They said they "retain an open mind" about what may have happened to Alice, and are investigating whether she may have been a victim of a crime.

Although they have no concrete information to suggest anything untoward has happened to her.

Earlier this week Alice's mother, Rosalind Hodgkiss, issued an emotional appeal to help find her daughter.

She said: "We'd like to say to Alice first of all that we miss her, that we love her and that she's not in any trouble, and we want to know that she's safe. We just want her to come home.

"We're also appealing to anybody who might have seen her or who may have made contact with her or who may know something about her whereabouts to contact police or Missing People, and to just get in touch because we're really concerned about her well-being."

Anyone with information can call police on 020 8358 0100; Ealing Missing Persons Unit on 020 8246 1018 or the charity Missing People on 116000.

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