Searches were continuing for missing Tia Sharp, whose stepfather on Tuesday begged: "Just find my little girl".

Around 100 people gathered at Croydon Rugby Club on Tuesday evening as the search for the 12-year-old continued.

Tia has not been seen since leaving grandmother Christine Sharp's home in New Addington, south-east London, at around midday on Friday.

tia sharp

Tia Sharp has been missing for four days

Earlier on Tuesday, her stepfather David Niles, 29, said the family were "in bits" as the search entered its fourth day.

Niles, wearing a Find Tia campaign T-shirt, said: "I just want to find my little girl.

"How would you feel if it was your daughter?," he added.

"We're in bits, the whole country has helped us and is supporting us.

"I haven't slept in four days. Natalie (Tia's mother) is in bits. The police have done everything."

On Thursday afternoon police began searching a local wood, Birchwood, less than a mile from Tia's grandmother's house in The Lindens.

A team of nine officers dressed in blue police baseball hats and black coats used long sticks to scour the undergrowth.

And tonight, local people gathered at Croydon Rugby Club to spend the evening searching for Tia.

Club secretary Sue Randall said: "We were here last night with the police and they told us all to come back today.

"At the moment there's about 100 people but more came and went off to start the search."

She said she thought Tia's family were among the people gathered.

"People searched last night, and this morning, and are back tonight," she said. "Everybody wants to help, we're just pulling together to try and find her."

She said people would search for "however long it takes".

The Sun newspaper has offered a £25,000 reward for information that will lead to police finding the 12-year-old.

It was believed the last person to see Tia was Mrs Sharp's partner, Stuart Hazell.

But today Niles said he was unsure about that, adding: "The last time I saw her was on Thursday morning before going to work (at the family home in Mitcham).

"She had a friend stay over. She was good as gold.

"I know I am not her real dad, but I have been there since day dot. I have fed her and bathed her.

"I just want her home.

"When she left the house she shouted 'Bye' and 'See you by six'.

"She always takes her phone but it was dead."

Mrs Sharp, speaking from her terraced home, said she hoped an image of her granddaughter taken outside the nearby Co-op on Thursday would jog people's memories and bring forward new information.

"We're hoping the pictures will jog someone's memory, yes," she said.

She thanked the community for supporting the family but declined to speak at length.

A man inside the house, who did not give his name, said the family did not want to talk and were going through a terrible time.

Outside the house a solitary candle burned in a glass holder with a plastic bottle covering it.

Tia vanished 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 the schoolgirl, who has never gone missing before.

Hundreds of "missing" posters have been distributed around New Addington and Tia's face looks out from most local shops and noticeboards.

At a bus stop close to her grandmother's house in The Lindens, well-wishers have left dozens of burning candles and tealights with hand-written signs asking for Tia to be brought home.