Police search for missing girl, 5
Police and "hundreds" of local residents have spent the night searching for a missing five-year-old girl who was abducted while out playing near her home.
April Jones was last seen getting into a light coloured van which drove off in the mid Wales town of Machynlleth on Monday evening.
Dyfed-Powys Police said they are becoming "increasingly concerned" for the missing youngster's safety and have deployed a large number of officers and specialist teams to investigate the disappearance. Hundreds of local residents in the small market town are said to have joined the hunt for April on Monday with many continuing their efforts overnight.
Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Powell said police were following a number of lines of inquiry: "Dyfed-Powys Police have launched an intensive search and criminal investigation into the abduction of a five-year-old girl, April Jones, in Machynlleth. April was last seen playing on a bicycle near her home address at around 7.30pm and was seen getting into what we believe was a light-coloured van which then drove off."
Up to 200 people congregated at Machynlleth Leisure Centre as news of the apparent abduction broke to help in the search for the missing girl, according to reports. Police said April had been out in the town riding a bike with a friend before she vanished.
Local restaurant owner Razul Islam said a large majority of the town, which has a population of 2,000, was out in force searching for the five-year-old. "There are hundreds of people out looking for her," Mr Islam told Sky News on Monday night. "It is such a small town and nearly everyone is out looking for her - I'm shocked that it has happened in a town like this."
Machynlleth is situated in the Dyfi Valley and sits on the southern outskirts of Snowdonia National Park.
Anwen Morris, a family friend who is taking part in the effort to find April, told Sky News that everyone in Machynlleth is pulling together to help with the search. She said: "It is such a strong community that we have here, the amount of support we have had overnight has been unbelievable, but the thing is we need this light now, we need these people here now to help us search in daylight and hopefully find her."
Ms Morris encouraged those who want to help to head to Machynlleth's Bro Ddyfi leisure centre, where co-ordinators are giving out maps and search routes.
County Councillor Michael Williams also joined in the search efforts. He told BBC Radio 5Live: "People were co-ordinated by the police and as well as searching the town they went out into forested areas of the valley and wooded areas and out into hamlets and byroads." Speaking about April's relatives he added: "They are such a lovely, caring family and they are devastated. The community is shocked and stunned over what's happened."