April Jones: Police focus on Machynlleth and River Dyfi

A police team search land near Machynlleth
Image caption A police team search land near Machynlleth

Police have stepped up their efforts to find missing five-year-old April Jones with 18 specialist search teams made up of 100 officers involved in the hunt.

April was last seen outside her home in Machynlleth, Powys a week ago.

The teams drafted in from all over the UK focused on the town and the River Dyfi, while 30 to 40 coastguards resumed their search.

Meanwhile, April's parents released a lantern from their garden on Monday evening in memory of her.

Coral and Paul Jones asked friends and neighbours, and anyone else wherever they live, to light a candle at 19:00 BST, the time April was last seen a week ago.

Mark Bridger, 46, has been remanded in custody, charged with murder.

He was also charged with child abduction and attempting to pervert the course of justice when he appeared before magistrates in Aberystwyth on Monday.

Mr Bridger, from the village of Ceinws north of Machynlleth, was remanded to be held in a Manchester prison and is due to appear again via video link at Caernarfon Crown Court on Wednesday.

The police search carried on until dark and will resume at first light on Tuesday morning.

Dyfed-Powys Police Supt Ian John said: "We are looking in and around the town and the environment... and a meticulous search of the river.

"We will be going over some of the areas already done and make sure no stone is left unturned."

He added many of the current search teams were joined by reinforcements.

The police have been using the town's leisure centre as a base for the operation but will move to council-owned Y Plas office building on Tuesday.

Image caption An all-terrain vehicle being used in the search on Monday

Mr John said the search would continue indefinitely but was aware of other police services the town needs.

"We are not going to put a time limit on this," he said.

"We will make sure we are making the best use of our resources but we are still determined to find April."

Coastguard rescue teams from Aberdyfi, Aberystwyth, New Quay and Borth are involved as well as members of the teams from Aberdaron, Bangor, Penmon, Dee and Rhyl.

Image caption April Jones was playing near her home when she disappeared on Monday evening

Three coastguard sector managers are co-ordinating the effort, which will continue to focus on the River Dyfi and its estuary.

The RNLI have yet to be called out, but may be deployed later on Monday.

Meanwhile, volunteer mountain rescue search teams suspended their efforts, after combing through more than 230 areas covering 70 sq km, saying the searches are "more suited" to police teams.

Senior member Nick Mortley thanked those who helped support them.

He said: "The support the public has been giving us over the past six days has been phenomenal and has had a massive impact on team morale during some challenging times.

"All of the volunteers would like to thank you for your encouragement, and also to say a huge thanks to the people working long hours at the leisure centre, keeping us fuelled-up so we could continue going out and doing what we needed to do."

On Sunday morning about 1,000 people gathered for a special service at St Peter's Church 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.

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