April Jones: search for girl, 5, hits Twitter and Facebook
Thousands join Facebook page to help find missing girl, while celebrities spread the word on Twitter
THOUSANDS of people have taken to Twitter and Facebook in a bid to find a five-year-old girl who went missing in Wales last night.
April Jones is feared to have been abducted while playing near her home in Machynlleth, mid-Wales. It is claimed she was last seen out in the town riding a bike with a friend before getting into a light coloured van. Dyfed Powys Police said they were becoming "increasingly concerned" for her safety.
Hundreds of local residents have been helping police search for her, and many have also been using social media to spread the news about her disappearance.
More than 10,000 people have joined pages dedicated to April on Facebook, to help share photographs of her and write messages of support for her family.
On Twitter, the hashtag #FindApril has been trending since the early hours of this morning as tweeters join the effort to find her. Gary Lineker, Phillip Schofield and Eamonn Holmes were among celebrities tweeting the news.
"Please RT If you have any information on missing 5-year-old April Jones a hotline number has been released 0300 2000 333," wrote Schofield in a message that was retweeted by more than 3,000 of his followers.
One of April’s neighbours, Rhydian Mason, told the BBC: "Most of us I think have found out through social networking sites online like Facebook - that's where I first heard of it - and we all want to see what we can do to help.
"It's completely heartbreaking. I'm trying to put myself in the shoes of April's parents and it's an awful feeling in the pit of the stomach. We're all out here hopefully to see if we can get a positive outcome to this story.”
One woman reportedly drove down from Caernarfon, North Wales - about 80 miles away - to help the search party. She told a local petrol station worker: “I saw it on Facebook and I couldn't sleep, so I came down.”