April Jones: 100 police in hunt for missing girl

Supt Ian John says the search is entering "another phase"

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Police are doubling their efforts with 100 specialist officers becoming involved in the search for missing five-year-old April Jones.

It comes as mountain rescue search teams suspended their searches for April who was last seen outside her home in Machynlleth, Powys on Monday.

On Sunday, around 1,000 people took part in a special church service.

Mark Bridger has been charged with murder, child abduction and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

He is due before magistrates in Aberystwyth on Monday.

April Jones April Jones was last seen on Monday despite hundreds of people searching for her

Simon Woodhead, speaking on behalf of the volunteer Mountain Rescue search teams, said after combing through more than 230 areas covering 70 sq km, "the areas and searches are more suited to the police teams than they are to mountain rescue teams."

"We have covered a huge area but unfortunately not been successful," he said.

Supt Ian John said the operation to find April was moving to a new phase using specialist police search teams.

Mr John from Dyfed-Powys Police said police teams would increase to 18 with 100 officers involved.

He said the search would continue in and around the river, the forest and mountains.

'Methodical search'

"The search does continue and that will centre around here," said Mr John speaking outside St Peter's Church where on Sunday morning around 1,000 people had gathered for a special church service.

Sian Lloyd visited the Machynlleth community centre, the "hub of the search efforts"

"We are going to have almost double the amount of police search teams we have had over the last couple of days," he said.

"We are upping our numbers to 18 teams which will be over 100 officers, so our efforts are completely focused on working through this operation and bringing it to a conclusion."

Earlier on Sunday he said that 10 specialist police teams were "continuing to conduct a systematic and methodical search in and around the town".

But said that there would be a "change in resourcing but not in intensity" as the search for April continued.

"I would like to pay tribute to the Mountain Rescue teams who have worked themselves to a standstill in the search for April," said Mr John.

"We will be keeping April's family fully updated on progress of the investigation.

'Sweet April'

"We are maintaining the momentum of the search and we remain totally focused and committed to finding April," he added.

At a special service led by parish priest the Reverend Kathleen Rogers and the Bishop of Bangor the Rt Rev Andrew John, a pink candle was lit for April.

Ahead of the service, around 600 people had taken part in a silent procession through the town to the packed church.

Many people had to stand outside for the service which was not attended by April's parents.

The Rev Rogers told the congregation that the community and searchers could not bring "sweet and innocent April home as we had hoped".

Speaking after the service, Bishop John said: "Machynlleth has given the world a human face to that word compassion."

Dog involved in search The search for April continued along the river and countryside on Sunday

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