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Coastguard teams from Lowestoft, Gorleston and Winterton continue search for missing Sophie Smith

PUBLISHED: 12:56 29 December 2017

Sophie Smith, 21, has been missing from Gorleston since Boxing Day. Photo: Norfolk Police

Sophie Smith, 21, has been missing from Gorleston since Boxing Day. Photo: Norfolk Police

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Coastguard teams are out in full force along the coastline this afternoon as the search for missing student Sophie Smith goes on.

The 21-year-old is believed to have entered the sea at Gorleston having disappeared from home in Avondale Road during the early hours of Boxing Day morning wearing only a vest and shorts.

She had been suffering from severe anxiety and depression and left home at 3am without her mobile phone.

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

Police will be conducting further coastline searches this afternoon and multiple coastguard teams have also joined the efforts.

A coastguard spokesman said: “Three coastguard teams - Lowestoft and Southwold, Gorleston and Winterton - are currently out searching in relation to missing person Sophie Smith.”

Officers believe the most likely scenario is that Sophie entered the sea at Gorleston and have consequently sought expert analysis of tidal movement, resulting in the extensive searches along the coastline today.

Insp Will Drummond said: “Sophie had been receiving treatment for depression and anxiety.

“Our enquiries have revealed there’s been a degree of pre-planning to her disappearance and this, combined with her mental state and comments made the previous day, suggest the most likely scenario is that she has gone into the sea.

“The coastguard will be assisting in shoreline searches while the police helicopter has also been deployed to conduct coastline searches.”

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