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Communities rally again with extensive searches for Sophie Smith

PUBLISHED: 17:46 30 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:46 30 December 2017

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

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Additional searches have been carried out as members of coastal communities persist with their efforts to find missing student Sophie Smith.

A fresh search was carried out this afternoon along the coasteline as the community helps to try and find Sophie Smith. Picture: Thomas ChapmanA fresh search was carried out this afternoon along the coasteline as the community helps to try and find Sophie Smith. Picture: Thomas Chapman

The 21-year-old disappeared from her home on Avondale Road in Gorleston at 3am on Boxing Day morning, wearing only a vest and shorts.

CCTV footage captured her heading towards the seafront a short time later, but there have been no other confirmed sightings since then.

The search was organised by the Find Sophie Smith Facebook group. Picture: Thomas ChapmanThe search was organised by the Find Sophie Smith Facebook group. Picture: Thomas Chapman

Sophie’s disappearance has prompted a remarkable reaction from local people and hundreds have been joining the emergency services to help scour the coastline in the hope that she will be found.

Two further searches - organised by the Find Sophie Smith Facebook group - took place in coastal areas this afternoon (December 30).

A fresh search was carried out this afternoon along the coasteline as the community helps to try and find Sophie Smith. Picture: Thomas ChapmanA fresh search was carried out this afternoon along the coasteline as the community helps to try and find Sophie Smith. Picture: Thomas Chapman

At midday, a group gathered at the Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth before spreading themselves out as widely as possible along the beach and trekking north through Caister-on-Sea, California and beyond.

Whilst the first search was still going on, a second search began at Hopton Holiday Village from 2.30pm.

A fresh search was carried out this afternoon along the coasteline as the community helps to try and find Sophie Smith. Picture: Thomas ChapmanA fresh search was carried out this afternoon along the coasteline as the community helps to try and find Sophie Smith. Picture: Thomas Chapman

As the community rallies to try and locate Sophie, Emma Flaxman-Taylor, a Great Yarmouth Borough Councillor for the Gorleston ward, expressed how pleased she has been to see so many people join the search effort.

“It’s so touching to realise what a close community we have,” said Mrs Flaxman-Taylor. “At times like this people really do get involved, but I’m not surprised at all to see it.

The search for missing Sophie Smith, on the beach at California in north Norfolk. Picture: Ian BurtThe search for missing Sophie Smith, on the beach at California in north Norfolk. Picture: Ian Burt

“Everyone really has pulled together and a couple of the councillors have been out on the searches too.

“I’ve got an 18-year-old son and I wouldn’t know what to do if he went missing. It’s a terrible time of year for it happen and my thoughts are with Sophie’s family and friends.”

The search for missing Sophie Smith, on the beach at California in north Norfolk. Picture: Ian BurtThe search for missing Sophie Smith, on the beach at California in north Norfolk. Picture: Ian Burt

Anyone with any information regarding the whereabouts of Sophie Smith should contact Norfolk Police immediately on 101.

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