Tia search stretches to fourth day

The family of missing schoolgirl Tia Sharp have made an emotional plea for her to return home as the hunt for the youngster stretches into its fourth day.

Tia, 12, was last seen leaving her grandmother's home in New Addington, south-east London, at around midday on Friday after telling relatives she was going to the Whitgift Centre in Croydon town centre.

Police have been scouring hours of CCTV footage but said they had not found any trace of Tia, who has never gone missing before.

The youngster's uncle David Sharp last night urged anyone who knows of his niece's whereabouts to come forward as Scotland Yard released a new CCTV image of Tia taken the day before she vanished.

Mr Sharp, 28, told a press conference: "I just want to say to Tia, 'I just want you to come home. You're not in any trouble'. Anyone who knows where she is or has any information, please come to us or please phone the police."

Scotland Yard said there had been 55 reports of sightings of Tia, although these are yet to be confirmed.

Detective Chief Inspector Nick Scola, from the Metropolitan Police's Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said the youngster spent a lot of time at her grandmother Christine Sharp's house and the last person to see Tia was her grandmother's partner.

Tia went there the previous day after travelling there by tram, with her grandmother's partner meeting her halfway at East Croydon station. Mr Scola said: "At this stage, it's a relatively simple timeline as we know. She was at her grandmother's address, she slept late and then she left to get the bus. We've had one neighbour who's reported possibly seeing her walking to the bus stop but as yet that is uncorroborated."

Mr Scola released a CCTV image of Tia taken at a Co-op store in New Addington at around 4.15pm the day before she went missing, when she was wearing similar clothes to when she was last seen. Tia did not have her young person's travelcard with her but some bus and tram drivers let children travel without one.

Tia is white, 4ft 5in and slim, and was wearing FCUK glasses. She was dressed in a yellow bandeau top over a white bra with visible cross straps, light grey leopard print leggings, and black and pink Nike high-top trainers.