Missing Sophie Smith: Coastguard searches Norfolk shoreline

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Media captionSophie Smith: Father appeals for missing student to come home

The coastguard is searching the shoreline for a missing student who has not been seen since Boxing Day.

Sophie Smith, 21, left her home in Gorleston, Norfolk, dressed in shorts and a vest top at 03:00 GMT.

A police helicopter is scouring the coastline and officers believe the most likely scenario is that Ms Smith entered the sea at Gorleston.

Norfolk Police have sought expert analysis of tidal movement to help direct the searches.

Image copyright Norfolk Constabulary
Image caption Ms Smith went missing in the early hours of Boxing Day

Insp Will Drummond said: "Sophie had been receiving treatment for depression and anxiety.

"Our enquiries have revealed there's been a degree of pre-planning to her disappearance and this, combined with her mental state and comments made the previous day, suggest the most likely scenario is that she has gone into the sea.

"The sea searches will be carried out by the coastguard while the police helicopter is being deployed to conduct coastline searches. Based on tidal analysis, the searches will be carried out in targeted areas."

Ms Smith was seen on CCTV a short time after leaving her home heading towards the seafront.

There have been no other confirmed sightings since then.

Image caption Sophie Smith vanished from her home in Avondale Road, Gorleston, dressed in just a vest top and shorts

Insp Drummond added: "Local CCTV footage has been examined but unfortunately Sophie is not captured on any other cameras.

"She didn't take her mobile phone and hasn't accessed her bank accounts or social media accounts since leaving home.

"This is clearly a very distressing time for her family and we continue to keep them updated of ongoing work in this case."

Ms Smith is described as being white, about 5ft 8in (1.73m), of a slim build with shoulder length blonde hair. It is believed she was wearing a dark coloured vest top and light coloured shorts.

Image caption The coastguard is carrying out a shoreline search from Winterton to Lowestoft for missing student Sophie Smith
Image caption Sophie Smith's step-sister Lauren Jayne Shaw led the search in Great Yarmouth

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