April Jones: Parents and community mark week since disappearance

Sky lanterns
Image caption Lanterns were lit and released above Machynlleth and other communities

The parents of five-year-old April Jones have released a sky lantern from the garden of their home exactly a week after their daughter was last seen.

Residents in Machynlleth, Powys, also lit lanterns, candles and released pink balloons to remember the missing girl.

Police checkpoints have been set up on main roads into the town to speak to drivers who were in the area last week.

Local man Mark Bridger, 46, has been charged with April's murder and remanded in custody.

He has also been charged with child abduction and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Image caption The tribute marked the hour last Monday that April was last seen

April's parents, Coral and Paul Jones, said they wanted to release a sky lantern from the mid-Wales village at about 19:00 BST to remember their daughter.

Some people at the candle-lighting vigils also released pink balloons.

A similar vigil was held in Aberystwyth and hundreds of people also gathered in Tywyn, Gwynedd, 15 miles away, to mark April's disappearance.

In Blackpool, the seaside tower was also lit up in pink during the evening.

Dyfed-Powys Police said traffic officers were setting up checkpoints on the A487 north and south at Dyfi Bridge and the A489 Newtown Road.

Officers at the checkpoints will have photographs of Mark Bridger and his Land Rover Discovery car.

The checkpoints are expected to remain in place until around 20:00 BST.

Earlier, chief volunteer co-ordinator Mark Lewis said the candle lighting and balloon release was appreciated by the family.

He said: "It's April's favourite colour. It also means hope. We've told April's parents we'll keep on searching and will bring April home to the family."

Police have stepped up their efforts to find April with 18 specialist search teams made up of 100 officers involved in the hunt on Monday.

The teams drafted in from all over the UK are focused on the town and the River Dyfi, while 30 to 40 coastguards have been involved in the search.

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

Dyfed-Powys Police Supt Ian John said the search involved in and around the town and "a meticulous search of the river".

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

Many of the current search teams remain but were joined by reinforcements.

The search for April stopped on Monday once it was dark and will start again on Tuesday morning.

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

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