April Jones abduction: Police receive over 2,500 calls

Police searching for missing five-year-old April Jones say they are "very heartened" by more than 2,500 calls in response to their latest appeal.

They said the search would continue through the night despite poor weather forecast for Machynlleth, in mid Wales.

Detectives have renewed an appeal over suspect Mark Bridger's movements, after being given more time to question him.

The search for April is nearing the end of its fourth day since she went missing on Monday evening.

'Right priority'

Superintendent Ian John, of Dyfed-Powys Police, told reporters at 17:30 BST on Thursday that the search teams would not be deterred by the heavy rain.

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Media captionDet Supt Reg Bevan urged anyone who has had contact with Mark Bridger to make contact with police.

"A massive police-led search has continued throughout the day in Machynlleth and will continue throughout the night regardless of the weather," he said.

"We are utilising eight specialist police search teams led by five specialist police advisers with the support of the national police search centre."

Supt John also praised the public's response.

"Following the appeals for information that we've made, we've received over 2,500 calls from the public," he said.

"All these calls need to be answered and that's being done by all 44 police forces around the country.

"All of this information needs to be analysed and I'm sure you can imagine the operation that's going on in and around our force area to process that information and make sure that everything is being given to the right priority and what we need to follow up is being followed up.

Image caption Volunteers gather to search in the village of Corris

He also praised the hundreds of people who had volunteered to help with the search, gathering at the local leisure centre each day.

"I've had the privilege of going over there and thanking them for the support they're giving in this difficult operation.

"I also want to turn to April's family," he said.

"I'm sure we're all feeling for them at this terrible time - also the friends and extended family.

"I just want to remind everybody that's why we're here tonight in the pouring down rain in Machynlleth is to focus on the search and do everything we can to bring this operation to a conclusion."

Image caption A special area in the foyer of Ysgol Gynradd Machynlleth to demonstrate support for April Jones

Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister David Cameron said it was every family's nightmare and urged anyone with information to speak to police.

Mr Cameron, whose late son Ivan had cerebral palsy, said the fact that April has the condition only made it worse.

At an earlier news conference on Thursday, Det Supt Reg Bevan, of Dyfed-Powys Police, who is leading the inquiry, renewed his appeal for information.

Social media

"In particular we are looking to trace the movements of Mark Bridger between 6.30pm on Monday and 3.30pm on Tuesday and any sightings of him between these times.

"In addition, if anyone had contact with him between these times, we would urge you to come forward.

Image caption Mark Bridger and his blue Land Rover Discovery - registration L503MEP

"By contact I mean any contact - including face to face, telephone, text or social media.

"We also need information regarding the movements of the blue Land Rover Discovery registration L503 MEP between Monday evening and Tuesday afternoon."

The force has until 17:00 BST on Friday to continue questioning Mr Bridger.

Meanwhile a special area has been created in the foyer of April's school to show its support.

The school, Ysgol Gynradd Machynlleth, said after a request from April's mother all pupils created small individual heart-shaped messages, and some classes also made artwork for her family.

The school has also set up an open book for parents, pupils and staff to leave "messages of support for April, Coral, Paul, Jasmine and Harley during this traumatic time".

Image caption April was last seen wearing this purple knee-length coat

April's mother has made a plea for people to wear pink ribbons to support the search.

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said: "As a dad I have thought about little else since the news came through. It's very difficult to imagine what April's parents are going through, there's been a lot of support from the community, it's been absolutely incredible".

Hundreds of local people responded to a fresh call for people living within a 10 to 15 mile (16-24km) radius and with a good local knowledge of the area, to contact rescue coordinators.

They are currently searching areas around 32 villages, concentrating initially on 15 communities.

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Media captionGernant Evans, farmer: 'I have children, a bit older [than April]. This incident hits us all.'

Overnight, the Bishop of Bangor Andy John led a vigil in the parish church in Machynlleth.

"I think people want to keep their fears at bay, that's what I'm sensing," he said.

"There are a lot of sentences that begin and then don't finish, as though people don't want to entertain the idea that there's going to be a bad outcome.

"At the same time they are wanting to find a way of expressing hope."

Dyfed-Powys Police have asked anyone with information to contact a dedicated hotline on 0300 2000 333.

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