Mid Wales

April Jones search: Checkpoints in place in Machynlleth

Police have been questioning motorists around the town where five-year-old April Jones went missing, as the search continued for an eighth day.

Road blocks were put in place in Machynlleth, Powys, on Monday night as officers hoped drivers may remember crucial details from last week.

The specialist police search operation is now being co-ordinated from the town's Y Plas community hall.

Commemorations have been held exactly a week after she disappeared.

Image caption The tribute marked the hour last Monday that April was last seen

Hundreds of sky lanterns were released - including one by April's parents - and many people released balloons and lit candles between 19:00 and 19:30 BST on Monday.

Similar events were held in Aberystwyth and Tywyn, Gwynedd, 15 miles away, and the tower at Blackpool was also lit up in pink during the evening.

Local man Mark Bridger, 46, has been charged with April's murder, child abduction and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

He appeared before Aberystwyth magistrates on Monday and will appear at Caernarfon Crown Court on Wednesday via a video link.

The hunt for April has intensified with 18 police teams now involved.

The search is focusing on the town and the Dyfi estuary with around 100 officers and 30 to 40 coastguards involved on Tuesday.

Night-time search efforts have been suspended which police say is a change of "resources rather intensity".

Supt Ian John said if April was at a location where she could be found, he was confident officers would find her.

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Media captionVolunteer searcher Dennis Jones says he is very proud of the community's efforts

"We've got 18 police search teams here from all over the UK, specialist search teams with a variety of different skills and equipment," he said.

"We also still have the RAF mountain rescue team here, and we also have search and rescue teams from South Wales specialist search unit ... detailed, methodical searches that are continuing within the town and the environment around Machynlleth.

"Also on the Dyfi estuary we still have the coastguard - again I've been speaking to them about the work they're doing and that continues."

Image caption April Jones was last seen on Monday despite hundreds of people searching for her

He said the officers involved in the search were highly motivated.

"If April is somewhere where we can find her, I'm confident they will find her," he said.

"That search effort will resume again this morning."

Police checkpoints were set up on main roads into the town on Monday night to speak to drivers who were in the area last week.

They are on the A487 north and south at Dyfi Bridge and the A489 Newtown Road.

Earlier, chief volunteer co-ordinator Mark Lewis said the candle lighting and balloon release was appreciated by the family.

He said: "It's April's favourite colour. It also means hope. We've told April's parents we'll keep on searching and will bring April home to the family."

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