April Jones, a five-year-old girl seen getting into a light-coloured van after playing outside her home, has been missing since Monday night and police believe she has been abducted.

Police and "hundreds" of local residents have spent the night searching for April Jones who was last seen getting into the van which drove off in the mid Wales town of Machynlleth Monday evening.

Dyfed-Powys Police said they are becoming "increasingly concerned" for the missing youngster's safety and have deployed a large number of officers and specialist teams to investigate the disappearance.

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April Jones: She was out playing with friends when witnesses saw her getting into a van

Dyfed Powys Police said on Tuesday that April was wearing a purple knee-length coat with grey fur around the hood, a white polo shirt and black trousers.

A spokeswoman said: "Her abduction took place around 7pm in the Bryn Y Gog estate in Machynlleth. It was witnessed by another young child when April was seen getting into a grey or light-coloured van, or van-sized vehicle.

"While the details of what happened are vague at the current time, it appears the suspect left the scene and drove off with April.

"At the time of her disappearance, April was wearing a purple knee-length coat with grey fur around the hood, her school white polo top and black trousers.

"Many police officers and specialist teams have worked through the night, with extensive searches taking place, and many lines of inquiry are being pursued."

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  • Pictures Of The Five-Year-Old Who Was 'Abducted In Van'
  • Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan of Dyfed-Powys Police told Sky News that because the initial account of April's abduction came from children, police were involved in a "delicate and lengthy process" to get the best information.

    He said: "Hopefully, later this morning I'll have some more details around the vehicle, specific details, and we are pursuing a number of lines of inquiry around that vehicle, where it may or may not be at this moment in time."

    Hundreds of local residents in the small market town are said to have joined the hunt for April on Monday with many continuing their efforts overnight.

    april jones

    April Jones: Police are 'increasingly concerned' for the youngster's welfare

    Up to 200 people congregated at Machynlleth Leisure Centre as news of the apparent abduction broke to help in the search for the missing girl, according to reports.

    Local restaurant owner Razul Islam said a large majority of the town, which has a population of 2,000, was out in force searching for the five-year-old.

    "There are hundreds of people out looking for her," Mr Islam told Sky News last night.

    "It is such a small town and nearly everyone is out looking for her - I'm shocked that it has happened in a town like this."

    Local petrol station owner Nerys Zjalic said she reopened her garage last night to help with the search.

    Ms Zjalic, who runs Reads Garage, told ITV Wales: "My friend called to ask if we would open so people can get petrol to help in the search. Locals are out in full force searching for her."

    Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live she said that some people had returned home overnight, but were planning to reconvene their search at 6.30am.

    "It just shows the community spirit of the town and how people get together in a crisis to do anything they can to help," she added.

    machynlleth

    The small town in north Wales, where five-year-old April Jones is missing

    Ms Zjalic, who knows the missing girl's family, said people had been coming from far and wide to help with the search.

    "It's unbelievable - you just don't think that something like that would happen in a small town like Machynlleth.

    "Nothing will be the same again - this is a small little market town and you think children are quite safe but this shows us it's not the case."

    She continued: "People just can't believe such a thing has happened, the whole town is devastated and in shock."

    april jones

    April Jones: Locals have been searching throughout the night, putting posters around the town

    Police released three pictures of brown-haired April and urged anyone with information about the youngster's disappearance to come forward.

    Locals have also put up posters of April around the town as part of their search efforts.

    Chris Dudley, who works at the Skinners Arms on Penrallt Street, said the pub was empty last night with many of the locals joining the search.

    "All the locals are looking for her in this area - the cemeteries, the golf field, playing field, everywhere you can think of," Mr Dudley said.

    "Police are still looking."

    Mr Dudley said police officers were "everywhere" and they were also searching cars.

    Inspector Kevin Davies from Dyfed-Powys Police said "every angle" of the investigation was being covered.

    He told the BBC that police dog teams were involved in the operation and that cars in and out of the town were being stopped and searched by officers.

    A family liaison officer is also keeping the "devastated" relatives of missing April informed of any developments, Mr Davies added.

    Machynlleth is situated in the Dyfi Valley and sits on the southern outskirts of Snowdonia National Park.

    Search volunteer Anwen Morris said locals had searched an area with a 30 mile radius overnight using quad bikes and off-road vehicles.

    "The most important thing here is to get this little girl home," she told Sky News.

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    Hundreds of people have searched a 30-mile radius of where the child was abducted

    County Councillor Michael Williams also joined in the search efforts.

    He told BBC Radio 5Live: "People were co-ordinated by the police and as well as searching the town they went out into forested areas of the valley and wooded areas and out into hamlets and byroads."

    Speaking about April's relatives he added: "They are such a lovely, caring family and they are devastated.

    "The community is shocked and stunned over what's happened."

    wales

    Police have cordoned off areas of Machynlleth where April lives

    A number of volunteers were congregating at the town's leisure centre this morning to continue the hunt, with maps of the area and pictures of April being handed to those offering their services.

    Anwen Morris, a family friend who is taking part in the effort to find April, told Sky News that everyone in Machynlleth is pulling together to help with the search.

    She said: "It is such a strong community that we have here, the amount of support we have had overnight has been unbelievable, but the thing is we need this light now, we need these people here now to help us search in daylight and hopefully find her."

    Ms Morris encouraged those who want to help to head to Machynlleth's Bro Ddyfi leisure centre, where co-ordinators are giving out maps and search routes.

    Loading Slideshow...
    • Search Continues For April Jones After Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Murder

      ABERYSTWYTH, WALES - OCTOBER 08: A police officer tries to prevent a member of the public from getting at a prison van believed to contain Mark Bridger as it leaves Aberystwyth Justice Centre on October 8, 2012 in Aberystwyth, Wales. Five-year-old April Jones was abducted from outside her house last week in Machynlleth, Wales and Bridger was arrested last Tuesday, the day after she went missing and has been charged with her murder, abduction and perverting the course of justice. Police continue their search for the young girl. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

    • Search Continues For April Jones After Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Murder

      ABERYSTWYTH, WALES - OCTOBER 08: A member of the public approaches a prison van believed to contain Mark Bridger, to shout abuse as it leaves Aberystwyth Justice Centre on October 8, 2012 in Aberystwyth, Wales. Five-year-old April Jones was abducted from outside her house last week in Machynlleth, Wales and Bridger was arrested last Tuesday, the day after she went missing and has been charged with her murder, abduction and perverting the course of justice. Police continue their search for the young girl. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

    • April Jones missing

      A man attacks a prison van as it leaves Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court where Mark Bridger, 46, appeared today accused of the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones.

    • April Jones missing

      A man attacks a prison van as it leaves Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court where Mark Bridger, 46, appeared today accused of the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones.

    • Search Continues For April Jones After Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Murder

      ABERYSTWYTH, WALES - OCTOBER 08: Members of the public and policemen look on as a prison van believed to contain Mark Bridger as it leaves Aberystwyth Justice Centre on October 8, 2012 in Aberystwyth, Wales. Five-year-old April Jones was abducted from outside her house last week in Machynlleth, Wales and Bridger was arrested last Tuesday, the day after she went missing and has been charged with her murder, abduction and perverting the course of justice. Police continue their search for the young girl. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

    • Search Continues For April Jones After Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Murder

      ABERYSTWYTH, WALES - OCTOBER 08: A prison van believed to contain Mark Bridger, who has been charged with the murder of April Jones, leaves Aberystwyth Justice Centre on October 8, 2012 in Aberystwyth, Wales. Five-year-old April Jones was abducted from outside her house last week in Machynlleth, Wales and Bridger was arrested last Tuesday, the day after she went missing and has been charged with her murder, abduction and perverting the course of justice. Police continue their search for the young girl. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

    • Search Continues For April Jones After Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Murder

      ABERYSTWYTH, WALES - OCTOBER 08: Media record outside Aberystwyth police station where Mark Bridger, who has been charged with the murder of April Jones, prepares to leave on October 8, 2012 in Aberystwyth, Wales. Five-year-old April Jones was abducted from outside her house last week in Machynlleth, Wales and Bridger was arrested last Tuesday, the day after she went missing and has been charged with her murder, abduction and perverting the course of justice. Police continue their search for the young girl. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

    • April Jones missing

      A prison van leaves Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court believed to be carrying Mark Bridger, 46, who appeared today accused of the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones.

    • April Jones missing

      Members of the public wait for the van to leave outside Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court after Mark Bridger, 46, appeared today accused of the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones.

    • April Jones missing

      A prison van leaves Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court believed to be carrying Mark Bridger, 46, who appeared today accused of the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones.

    • April Jones missing

      ALL TV OUT. ALL TV RELATED INTERNET SITES OUT. Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Mark Bridger as he appears in the dock of Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court accused of the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones.

    • April Jones missing

      A prison van leaves Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court believed to be carrying Mark Bridger, 46, who appeared today accused of the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones.

    • April Jones missing

      A Sunday church service at St Peter's Church in Machynlleth and prayers for April Jones, held by Reverand Kathleen Rogers and Bishop of Bangor Andrew John.

    • April Jones missing

      A Sunday church service at St Peter's Church in Machynlleth and prayers for April Jones, held by Reverand Kathleen Rogers and Bishop of Bangor Andrew John.

    • April Jones missing

      A Sunday church service at St Peter's Church in Machynlleth and prayers for April Jones, held by Reverand Kathleen Rogers and Bishop of Bangor Andrew John.

    • April Jones missing

      Villagers walk to Sunday church service at St Peter's Church in Machynlleth.

    • April Jones missing

      Villagers walk to Sunday church service at St Peter's Church in Machynlleth.

    • April Jones missing

      A Sunday church service at St Peter's Church in Machynlleth and prayers for April Jones, held by Reverand Kathleen Rogers and Bishop of Bangor Andrew John.

    • April Jones missing

      Forensic officers search the home of Mark Bridger - who has been arrested on suspicion of murder - as the hunt for missing April Jones resumed in Machynlleth, mid Wales.

    • April Jones missing

      Villagers walk to Sunday church service at St Peter's Church in Machynlleth.

    • April Jones missing

      BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE. Undated handout photo issued by Dyfed-Powys Police of April Jones who was abducted while out playing near her home in the Bryn Y Gog estate in Machynlleth, Mid Wales on Monday night. Issue date: Friday October 5, 2012. See PA story POLICE Missing. Photo credit should read: Dyfed-Powys Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

    • April Jones missing

      BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE. Undated handout photo issued by Dyfed-Powys Police of April Jones who was abducted while out playing near her home in the Bryn Y Gog estate in Machynlleth, Mid Wales on Monday night. Issue date: Friday October 5, 2012. See PA story POLICE Missing. Photo credit should read: Dyfed-Powys Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

    • April Jones missing

      BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE. Undated handout photo issued by Dyfed-Powys Police of April Jones who was abducted while out playing near her home in the Bryn Y Gog estate in Machynlleth, Mid Wales on Monday night. Issue date: Friday October 5, 2012. See PA story POLICE Missing. Photo credit should read: Dyfed-Powys Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

    • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

      ABERYSWYTH, WALES - OCTOBER 05: Mark Bridger is led from Aberyswyth police station to appear before magistrates in the town on October 5, 2012 in Aberystwyth, Wales . Five-year-old April Jones was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested the main suspect in the case, Mark Bridger, on suspicion of murder. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

    • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

      ABERYSWYTH, WALES - OCTOBER 05: Mark Bridger is led from Aberyswyth police station to appear before magistrates in the town on October 5, 2012 in Aberystwyth, Wales . Five-year-old April Jones was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested the main suspect in the case, Mark Bridger, on suspicion of murder. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

    • Britain-missing-child-police

      Police search teams enter the River Dyfi near to the home of Mark Bridger near Machynlleth, mid-Wales, on October 5, 2012 as the search for missing five-year-old girl April Jones continues. A man was arrested on suspicion of the murder of a missing five-year-old girl in Wales whose disappearance has gripped Britain. Mark Bridger, 46, was held as officers stepped up their hunt for April Jones, who was last seen on Monday evening in her hometown of Machynlleth in a mountainous area, getting into a car.AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/GettyImages)

    • Britain-missing-child-police

      Police search teams enter the River Dyfi near to the home of Mark Bridger near Machynlleth, mid-Wales, on October 5, 2012 as the search for missing five-year-old girl April Jones continues. A man was arrested on suspicion of the murder of a missing five-year-old girl in Wales whose disappearance has gripped Britain. Mark Bridger, 46, was held as officers stepped up their hunt for April Jones, who was last seen on Monday evening in her hometown of Machynlleth in a mountainous area, getting into a car.AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/GettyImages)

    • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

      MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 03: Canoeists search river banks close to where Mark Bridger was arrested on October 3, 2012 near Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

    • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

      MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 03: Canoeists search river banks close to where Mark Bridger was arrested on October 3, 2012 near Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

    • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

      MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 03: Police search a garden close to where Mark Bridger was arrested on October 3, 2012 near Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

    • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

      MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 03: Police search a garden close to where Mark Bridger was arrested on October 3, 2012 near Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

    • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

      MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 04: Police search Mark Bridger's house in the village of Ceinws as the hunt for missing April Jones continues on October 4, 2012 near Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

    • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

      MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 04: Police search Mark Bridger's house in the village of Ceinws as the hunt for missing April Jones continues on October 4, 2012 near Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

    • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

      MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 04: Police search Mark Bridger's house in the village of Ceinws as the hunt for missing April Jones continues on October 4, 2012 near Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

    • Britain-missing-child-police

      A police officer stands outside the last known address of Mark Bridger, the man arrested in connection with the abduction of April Jones near Machynlleth, mid-Wales, on October 4, 2012. The search for a missing five-year-old girl in a rural area of Wales was stepped up, three days after she went missing. April Jones was last seen getting into a vehicle on Monday near her home in the rural market town of Machynlleth. Rescuers appealed for volunteers with 'good local knowledge' to search 32 villages around the town as it emerged that the missing girl needs regular medication for cerebral palsy. AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/GettyImages)

    • Britain-missing-child-police

      A police officer stands outside the last known address of Mark Bridger, the man arrested in connection with the abduction of April Jones near Machynlleth, mid-Wales, on October 4, 2012. The search for a missing five-year-old girl in a rural area of Wales was stepped up, three days after she went missing. April Jones was last seen getting into a vehicle on Monday near her home in the rural market town of Machynlleth. Rescuers appealed for volunteers with 'good local knowledge' to search 32 villages around the town as it emerged that the missing girl needs regular medication for cerebral palsy. AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/GettyImages)

    • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

      MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 04: Police search Mark Bridger's house in the village of Ceinws as the hunt for missing April Jones continues on October 4, 2012 near Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

    • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

      ABERYSWYTH, WALES - OCTOBER 05: Mark Bridger is taken in a prison van from Aberyswyth police station to appear before magistrates in the town on October 5, 2012 in Aberystwyth, Wales . Five-year-old April Jones was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested the main suspect in the case, Mark Bridger, on suspicion of murder. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

    • April Jones missing

      Search and rescue teams continue their search along the banks of the River Dyfi in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, for missing five-year-old April Jones, who was last seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

    • April Jones missing

      Search and rescue teams continue their search on the River Dyfi in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, for missing five-year-old April Jones, who was last seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

    • April Jones missing

      Search and rescue teams prepare to continue their search along the banks of the River Dyfi in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, for missing five-year-old April Jones, who was last seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

    • April Jones missing

      Search and rescue teams continue their search on the River Dyfi in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, for missing five-year-old April Jones, who was last seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

    • April Jones missing

      Search and rescue teams continue their search along the banks of the River Dyfi in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, for missing five-year-old April Jones, who was last seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

    • April Jones missing

      Search and rescue teams continue their search on the River Dyfi in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, for missing five-year-old April Jones, who was last seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

    • April Jones missing

      Media satellite trucks outside the leisure centre in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, as search and rescue teams continue their search along the banks of the River Dyfi in Machynlleth, for missing five-year-old April Jones, who was last seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

    • April Jones missing

      Search and rescue teams continue their search on the River Dyfi in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, for missing five-year-old April Jones, who was last seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

    • April Jones missing

      Search and rescue teams continue their search on the River Dyfi in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, for missing five-year-old April Jones, who was last seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

    • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

      MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 04: Members of a mountain rescue team search the River Dyfi as the hunt for missing April Jones continues on October 4, 2012 in Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

    • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

      MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 04: Members of a mountain rescue team search the River Dyfi as the hunt for missing April Jones continues on October 4, 2012 in Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

    • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

      MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 04: Members of a mountain rescue team search the River Dyfi as the hunt for missing April Jones continues on October 4, 2012 in Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

    • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

      MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 04: Members of a mountain rescue team search the River Dyfi as the hunt for missing April Jones continues on October 4, 2012 in Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)