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Search for Sophie Smith proves fruitless as hundreds of people show support for her family

PUBLISHED: 10:09 30 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:18 30 December 2017

The search for missing girl Sophie Smith continues on Winterton beach. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The search for missing girl Sophie Smith continues on Winterton beach. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

An extensive search took place along the coastlines of Norfolk and Suffolk yesterday to try and find missing Gorleston student Sophie Smith.

The search came as people rallied around Sophie’s family by sending them messages of support and hope and also braving the bad weather to carry out their own searches.

Coastguard volunteers could be seen searching the coast between the harbour at Lowestoft and Winterton in atrocious weather conditions as a police helicopter scoured the coastline trying to locate the 21-year-old, who was last seen in the early hours of Boxing Day.

Coastguard teams based at Gorleston, Lowestoft and Winterton took part in the official search operation after police sought expert analysis of tidal movements.

The search came as police also revealed they had drawn a blank in finding any other CCTV images of Sophie from the time she was seen leaving her home heading to the seafront.

Sophie Smith, who has gone missing from Gorleston. Picture: NORFOLK CONSTABULARYSophie Smith, who has gone missing from Gorleston. Picture: NORFOLK CONSTABULARY

Yesterday’s bad weather conditions also saw a volunteer search called off along Gorleston beach and towards Hopton, but despite the heavy rain and wind a small group of people still searched the area.

And large numbers of people began to answer a call on the Find Sophie Smith Facebook page to send messages of support to her family, with comments such as “Thoughts are with you all and hoping your beautiful daughter comes home safe soon”.

Sophie, a University of East Anglia student, suffers from severe anxiety and depression, and left home with no mobile phone.

She left the family home at about 3am on Boxing Day and she was captured on CCTV a short time later heading towards the seafront. Insp Will Drummond, of Norfolk police, said: “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.”

Sophie is white, about 5ft 8, 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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