Town search for April nears end

Police looking for five-year-old April Jones have almost completed their search in the Welsh town where she went missing 12 days ago.

Officers from all over the UK have joined in the hunt for her, while volunteers from the ambulance service and the Coastguard are also continuing to search.

Superintendent Ian John, who is leading the search for Dyfed Powys Police, said: "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.

"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 for the rest of the weekend if we shouldn't find April today, throughout this weekend in and around the surrounding towns and villages."

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 night. 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.

"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 October 1.

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.