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Police scale back search for missing Sophie as community continue their hunt

PUBLISHED: 17:31 02 January 2018 | UPDATED: 19:35 02 January 2018

A photo from a volunteer-led search for missing Sophie Smith in Gorleston last week and inset a picture issued by the police of the 21-year-old. Photo: Antony Kelly/Norfolk Police

A photo from a volunteer-led search for missing Sophie Smith in Gorleston last week and inset a picture issued by the police of the 21-year-old. Photo: Antony Kelly/Norfolk Police

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The community is continuing to search for missing Sophie Smith after police said they have scaled back their hunt.

Three images of missing Sophie Smith, who has not been seen since she left her Gorleston home in the early hours of Boxing Day morning. Pictures: With permission of @sarah_janee_xo/Norfolk Police Three images of missing Sophie Smith, who has not been seen since she left her Gorleston home in the early hours of Boxing Day morning. Pictures: With permission of @sarah_janee_xo/Norfolk Police

It has now been more than a week since the 21-year-old was last seen in a CCTV image leaving her family home in Avondale Road, Gorleston running towards the sea.

Police have confirmed they are scaling back their search for the student, who it is believed left the house wearing just a vest and shorts at 3am between Christmas Day and Boxing Day, with a spokesman saying they have made “all the inquiries we can.”

He added: “All lines of inquiry, including the CCTV, have been investigated and nothing has come out.”

Police also advised those searching for Sophie in bad weather to exercise common sense by the water or if the winds are particularly strong.

Those who live around Sophie Smith’s family home in Gorleston, and from further afield, are continuing to rally around with efforts to search for her.

MORE: One week on and still no sign of missing student Sophie Smith as searches continue

The Find Sophie Smith Facebook group now has nearly 30,000 members and is moderated by a team of nine volunteer administrators.

Tom Mardell is one of those who wanted to use his knowledge of the coastline to help people in their unofficial search efforts.

The 27-year-old, said: “With the high spring tides it is really dangerous for people to be down on the beaches at certain times of the day. Especially over the next couple of days, the weather is going to be absolutely awful.”

He strongly advised against any searches during the bad weather or high tides and also insisted that children be kept away from the searches full stop.

Staci Clark, 27, has organised a candle-lit vigil, by setting up another Facebook group encouraging people to light a candle at home for Sophie.

The mother-of-two who lives in Wellington Road, Great Yarmouth said: “As a mum myself with two little kids, I wouldn’t wish this situation on anyone.

“We just want to show Sophie’s family we are all there for them. We’re not going to stop until she is found.”

Sophie is white, about 5ft 8in, of a slim build with shoulder length blonde hair. It is believed she was wearing a dark coloured vest top and light coloured shorts.

Anyone with information should contact Norfolk Police immediately on 101.

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