Mid Wales

April Jones: Police search of Machynlleth nearly complete

Police looking for missing April Jones say they have almost completed their search of Machynlleth where she was last seen 12 days ago.

Dyfed-Powys Police Supt Ian John paid tribute to the hard work of officers and said the experience was "humbling".

Officers from across the UK, the ambulance service and coastguard are continuing to search for April.

A man has been charged with her murder but Mr John said his search teams remained committed to finding her.

"What we've had today is an influx of officers from other parts of the UK as we had to send our search teams home to get some rest," he said on Friday.

"They've worked extremely hard over the last few days so we've got some new search teams with us and they're concentrating their search in finishing off in the Machynlleth town.

"We've nearly completed our searches here and we're now focusing our search operation today in the Ceinws area and, if we shouldn't find April today, throughout this weekend in and around the surrounding towns and villages."

Mr John said his search teams remain committed to finding the little girl as fears grow that she may never be found.

He said the search plan was developed between the force's own police search advisers and the national police search centre, who have consulted worldwide with others with similar experience.

Image caption Mark Bridger has been charged with April's murder

"The detailed plan that we've put together is very robust and that is the main drive for our search operation," he said.

"It's a very professional and methodical search. It is a very emotional time for the town of Machynlleth here, but we are police officers, we are professionals and we've got to try to take some of the emotion out of that so that we can do the best job for the family."

Mr John also paid tribute to the hundreds of members of the public who helped in the initial search for April, who vanished from outside her home as she played with other children in the mid Wales town of Machynlleth on Tuesday 1 October.

He added: "It's really been very inspiring to see the people, who have delivered food, they've delivered clothes.

"Some of the food that we had, we thought it would go off and so somebody delivered a whole load of fridges.

"I've never seen anything like it and nobody that I've spoken to has seen anything even approaching this level of community spirit. But it's not just Machynlleth, it's from all over the country."

Mark Bridger, 46, appeared in court on Wednesday accused of abducting and murdering April, and of unlawfully disposing of and concealing her body with intent to pervert the course of justice.

Mr John said he was not able to discuss the police investigation.

He said: "I can't talk about it in any detail but I called into Aberystwyth police station this morning where the operation is focused and there's a very dedicated and committed team there who have been working tirelessly as well.

"You've obviously seen people such as myself and the searchers here, but rest assured there's an extremely professional and dedicated team of officers and staff at Aberystwyth who are working diligently to put this case together."

Meanwhile, the Wales football team are to wear pink ribbons in support of the search for April during the national anthems and line-ups ahead of the match against Scotland at Cardiff City Stadium on Friday evening.

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