Revealed: Face of the man accused of taking April

POLICE searching for April Jones have issued a picture of the 46-year-old man they have arrested on suspicion of her abduction.

Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan, from Dyfed Powys Police, said he was confirming Mark Bridger’s identity to end speculation but stressed that he was just one of several lines of inquiry.

He appealed for witnesses who may have seen Mr Bridger between Monday evening when April disappeared, and yesterday afternoon when he was arrested, or his Land Rover Discovery 4x4 vehicle, registration number L503 MEP.

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Five-year-old April was abducted from the Mid Wales town of Machynlleth at around 7pm on Monday.

This afternoon her mother Coral Jones begged for any information that may lead to her daughter being found.

She said: “We are desperate for any news. April is only five years old. Please, please help find her.”

Accompanied by her stepfather, April’s step-grandfather, Dai Smith, she sobbed as she said: “It’s been 36 hours since April was taken from us.

“There must be someone out there who knows where she is and can help the police find her. We are desperate for any news.

“April is only five years old. Please, please, help find her.”

Mr Bevan, showing the image of Mr Bridger, said he was currently being interviewed.

“We are in the process of piecing together his movements and that of the vehicle from around 5pm on Monday evening through to 3.30pm Tuesday afternoon when Mark Bridger was arrested,” he said.

“He was arrested on the A487 just north of the Dyfi Bridge, walking in the direction of Machynlleth, and he was wearing a camouflage green jacket, black waterproof overtrousers and camouflage trousers beneath those.

“The Land Rover Discovery was recovered from a repair garage in the Old Station Road area of Machynlleth on Tuesday afternoon.”

He said police are still pursuing a “number of lines of inquiry” - one of which is Mr Bridger.

Mr Bevan appealed for any information people may have about Mr Bridger or his Land Rover, saying: “Did you see that vehicle between Monday evening and Tuesday afternoon?

“If you did, please don’t assume that someone else has already contacted us. Please, even if you have the smallest of information, it could be crucial to this investigation.”

Five-year-old April last seen getting into a vehicle by a friend she was playing with close to her home on the Bryn-y-Gog estate.

In a statement, her family said their lives were “shattered” by her disappearance.

“We are devastated and our lives have stopped. Please, please, if you have our little girl, let her come home to us,” they said.

An overnight search failed to find the youngster, and today Dyfed Powys Police urged the public - who have turned out in droves to help look for April - to leave efforts to “members of our trained and skilled teams”.

At an earlier press conference, Superintendent Ian John said: “I need people to know it is a rural environment, very challenging conditions out there.

“The weather yesterday wasn’t great and I don’t think the forecast is very good for today.

“The River Dyfi is in flood and we really do need to manage the risk of everybody there, not only the police officers, the mountain rescue team, but we are extremely concerned about large numbers of members of the public going into what I have said are very challenging conditions.

“So what I am asking really is, notwithstanding the great support and the commitment that people want to show in helping us to find April, can we please leave this now to the trained and skilled people that we have.

“I don’t want those officers to be distracted by the well-intentioned and enthusiastic support.”

Search efforts today are expected to concentrate on potentially dangerous areas of deep woodland and the River Dyfi around the town.

A police cordon remained in place on the estate as residents attempted to go about their daily routines.

But the shadow of missing April loomed large and the sound of search helicopters was never far away.

One woman, who asked not to be named and had just dropped her daughter off at a local primary school, said: “There was this feeling of sadness at the school this morning. We are just waiting for news. Everyone has done their bit to help.”

She said the estate had always been a safe place for children, adding: “All our children play in the same area where this little girl was playing. We have never worried about their safety before.”

Of April, she said: “She is just like any other five-year-old. Just a happy little thing, always out and about with her friends. We are just hoping to hear something positive.”

Edgar Davies, 87, who has lived on the estate for 10 years, said there had never been any trouble before. He said: “I have grandchildren so I just feel for the family. There are always little children playing round here. I felt sick when I heard what was going on. I just hope they are successful and find her.”

He said he knew Mr Bridger to say “hello” to and would often see him on the estate in his “pick-up” truck.