UPDATE: Police search for missing girl April Jones feared abducted from Machynlleth
A major search is under way to find a five-year-old girl police fear has been abducted.
April Jones was last seen playing with her friend on their bikes near garages in Machynlleth, Powys, at around 7pm on Monday.
She was seen getting into what police describe as “a light coloured van or van-sized vehicle which then drove off”.
Dyfed Powys Police have released photographs of the missing girl, and say they are increasingly concerned for her whereabouts.
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Hundreds of local residents from Machynlleth searched through the night to try to find April, who according to local news website mynewtown.co.uk was wearing a purple padded coat and her blue school uniform at the time she went missing.
Police are urging anyone with information to call 101. Alternatively, Dyfed Powys Police have issued a number for people who might have details about April: 0300 2000 333.
Police officers, members of the public and celebrities alike have turned to social networking site Twitter to urge people to get in touch with police. TV presenter Eamonn Holmes wrote this morning: “The first few hours in a Missing Investigation so important. Police Number for little April Jones leads and information .....101”.
Meanwhile police officer James Patrick wrote: “It's dark, it's cold, you need coffee. None of it matters...5 year old April Jones is missing. Let's do what we can...”
A number of Facebook pages dedicated to finding April have been set up since last night. Once page, Find April Jones, has 9,657 'likes'.
The Dyfed Powys Police website was this morning experiencing technical issues, with users being met with a message: "The site is currently not available due to technical problems. Please try again later. Thank you for your understanding."
UPDATE 9.45am: Local news website mynewtown.co.uk reports this morning that police confirm that another child witnessed the abduction of April Jones.
According to the site, anyone wanting to assist the search should head to the Machynlleth Leisure Centre.
The website says the "reason the van description is sketchy (white or grey) is because it was dark and young children are the only witnesses".
UPDATE 11am: Police are stopping and searching light coloured vehicles in the Newtown area as well as surrounding communities, mynewtown.co.uk reports.
UPDATE 1210: Police have told journalists at a press conference the van April was seen getting into was small at the front and large at the back, meaning it could be a vehicle such as "a Ford Connect or Land Rover".
At this stage there is nothing to indicate there was a struggle when April got into the vehicle at around 7pm, Det Superintendent Reg Bevan said. "April has been described as getting into the driver’s side of the vehicle. This may be because she got in with the driver or that it is left hand drive vehicle," he said.
"Indications are she got into the vehicle willingly", he added.
The colour is still being described as grey, but police are "mindful that it was dusk and that can affect people's interpretation of colour".
Police say April had been in the company of a number of friends on Monday evening, and one individual was with her when she was taken.
The children were playing on the estate which was "very close" to where April lives.
The children are providing police with "vital information", police say.
Police explained April was seen by her parents earlier on Monday evening, and was last seen at just around 7pm when she got into the driver's side of a vehicle.
It is "every parent's worst nightmare", police said.
They explained they are not sure of her whereabouts, but that research suggests they should start in the immediate vicinity and start working outwards.
Police are also urging anyone with information or CCTV footage that might be of use to police to come forward, "regardless of how trivial or small" it may seem.
UPDATE 1240: Mountain Rescue teams have joined the search for April, mynewtown.co.uk reports.
The local news website says Brecon Mountain Rescue teams are heading to Machynlleth to help with the search, along with other specialist teams from Snowdonia and neighbouring police forces.
Meanwhile searchers are asking for donations of wet weather kit, as weather conditions are so poor, Child Alerts UK says. Anyone able to help should go to the sports centre in Machynlleth.
UPDATE 1530: A volunteer helping to look for April has likened the search to trying to find "a needle in a haystack".
A female volunteer told the Daily Telegraph: "There's a lot of us here and we want to just do what we can to help and support.
"The terrain is very difficult, there is acres and acres of forest, we've all got a bit of local knowledge but I don't know how good that's going to be."
Meanwhile another volunteer said: "It feels like a needle in a haystack at times".
UPDATE 1640: BBC News is reporting the A487 is closed both ways between Machynlleth and Cross Foxes. No reason has been given for the closure of the 12-mile stretch of road, but when North Wales Police were contacted they referred callers to Dyfed Powys Police.
UPDATE 1645: A 46-year-old man has been arrested within the past hour just outside Machynlleth, police have announced. He is being held at Aberystwyth Police Station. April is, however, still missing.
Police say they are continuing their enquiries with a view that April is still alive.
UPDATE 1655: Police say the man is local, and they were actively looking for him. He was walking by the side of the road when he was seized.
The man drives a vehicle similar to the one in the police appeal, police say.
UPDATE 1705: The vehicle was found at a separate location from where the 46-year-old man was arrested, police added.
"We were anxious to speak to him", Det Superintendent Reg Bevan told BBC News.
"We knew who we were looking for" so we had "a number of patrols in the area", he added.
UPDATE 1745: The A487, the main road leading from Aberystwyth to North Wales, has been closed in both directions as part of the inquiries into April's disappearance, BBC News has reported.
The area around Dyfi bridge will be closed until further notice.
Meanwhile the editor of the Shropshire Star Keith Harrison has tweeted: "Police on foot searching riverbank and hedgerows near where van found. Coastguard vehicle now on scene".
UPDATE 1745: Meanwhile the editor of the Shropshire Star Keith Harrison has tweeted: "Police on foot searching riverbank and hedgerows near where van found. Coastguard vehicle now on scene".
UPDATE 1755: Coastguard are on the scene and police are searching the River Dyfi and surrounding waterways, BBC News reports.
UPDATE 1805: The man arrested in connection with the disappearance of April Jones was "known to the five-year-old's family", the Independent reports.
UPDATE 1820: A woman has been seen by ITV News inside the cordon surrounding the spot where the 46-year-old man was arrested. It's believed she was in tears and a number of toys were seen in the car.
UPDATE 1900: Police are scaling down the public search for April Jones, as the presence of vast crowds may now "compromise" the search, BBC News reports.
Police will continue to search using specialist equipment, namely thermal imaging equipment.
Wednesday's coverage of the search for April Jones can be found here.
Thursday's coverage of the search can be found here
Anyone with information is urged to call 101. Alternatively, Dyfed Powys Police have issued a number for people who might have details about April: 0300 2000 333.