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Police ‘increasingly concerned’ for welfare of missing 21-year-old as searches continue

PUBLISHED: 12:24 27 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:00 28 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

Archant

Police have this morning said they are becoming increasingly concerned for the welfare of a missing 21-year-old woman.

Sophie Smith, who has gone missing from Gorleston. Photo: Norfolk Police Sophie Smith, who has gone missing from Gorleston. Photo: Norfolk Police

A major search operation is continuing for a second day after Sophie Smith vanished from her home in Avondale Road in Gorleston at about 3am on Boxing Day (Tuesday).

Sophie is described as being 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.

Initial reports she was wearing a onesie and a blue Puffa style jacket when she went missing have now been withdrawn.

The Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue (NorLSAR) have been called out again today to assist in the search effort and police are also continuing their search efforts.

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

Officers said they would like to hear from anyone who may have seen Sophie or knows of her current whereabouts.

A briefing is being held for the media at Great Yarmouth Police Station at 1pm on Wednesday afternoon.

Anyone with information should contact Norfolk Police immediately on 101.

The second-year biomedicine student has now been missing for more than 32 hours, with appeals being shared thousands of times on social media.

A spokesman for the university said: “Our thoughts are very much with Sophie, her family and her friends.

“Our paramount concern is for Sophie’s safety and welfare and we would urge anyone who may have information about her whereabouts to contact Norfolk Police on 101.”

Boxing Day search

Overnight in the early hour of Tuesday morning, Coastguard teams from Gorleston, Winterton and Lowestoft, police units including a helicopter, two lifeboats from Gorleston lifeboat station and Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue (NorLSAR).

But despite a nine-hour extensive search Sophie has yet to be found.

On Wednesday morning the lifeboat searched the shoreline north towards Caister and then south towards Gorleston, but were stood down by the Coastguard after an hour.

Sophie Smith, 21, who has been missing since Boxing Day morning from Gorleston. (Photo: With permission of @sarah_janee_xo) Sophie Smith, 21, who has been missing since Boxing Day morning from Gorleston. (Photo: With permission of @sarah_janee_xo)

A spokesman for the RNLI said this was due to new information received by the authorities.

Police said they were concerned for Miss Smith’s welfare asked the public or anyone who may have information about her whereabouts, or anyone who might have seen her, to contact Norfolk Police on 101.

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