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80 police in search for missing Tia

More than 80 officers, including some redirected from Olympics duties, are involved in the hunt for missing 12-year-old Tia Sharp, the officer in charge of the search has said.

Metropolitan Police area commander Neil Basu, whose son once went missing for two hours in what he described as the "worst two hours" of his life, said: "I can't imagine how it must feel for this family after five days."

Tia, who has never gone missing before, seemingly vanished without a trace on Friday afternoon after telling relatives she was going to the Whitgift Centre in Croydon town centre.

She is thought to have been last seen at the house where her grandmother Christine Sharp, 46, lives with her partner Stuart Hazell, 37, at the Lindens, New Addington, south east London.

Mr Basu stressed that the investigation remains a missing persons inquiry, with no suspects, adding: "I am looking to find Tia safe and well. The family want Tia home, they miss her dreadfully."

He said Olympics resources have been redirected to the search for the 12-year-old, which now involves more than 80 officers - 40 detectives and 40 specialist search officers.

Mr Basu said: "We have collected more than 800 hours so far of CCTV footage from buses, trams, and we have viewed more than 120 hours of that."

Searches have covered a 500m radius around Tia's grandmother's house, including woodland, garages, lock-ups and a local school, he added.

Mr Basu said Scotland Yard has received more than 300 calls and 60 reported sightings of Tia.

"A member of the public has come forward and they say they saw Tia on the estate on the day she disappeared," he added. He said the schoolgirl was spotted at around noon on Friday, leaving her grandmother's house. But he said they could not be "absolutely sure" who the last person to see her on the estate was.

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