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

PUBLISHED: 21:20 27 December 2017 | UPDATED: 07:44 28 December 2017

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

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

Norfolk Police

A desperate search has taken place for a student who disappeared near her family’s seaside home over Christmas.

Sophie Smith, 21, went missing from a house in Avondale Road, Gorleston in the middle of the night between Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

She left the house wearing just a vest and shorts without her mobile phone.

Family, friends and volunteers joined the emergency services to scour the seafront in the hope of finding the UEA biomedicine student.

Her last known whereabouts was confirmed by CCTV images placing her near the house at about 3am in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Insp Will Drummond, who is leading the search efforts for Norfolk Police, said Sophie had “withdrawn” in the run up to her disappearance and they do not believe her disappearance to be suspicious.

He added: “I know that Sophie has been going through a rough time prior to going missing. I can’t really say anymore than that at the moment but it forms part of our enquiries.

“This is the first time she has gone missing which makes it very concerning for us and also the fact she doesn’t have a mobile phone with her so it would be very hard for her to reach out or for us to make contact with her. We are increasingly concerned about her due to her previous behaviour just before going, and the fact we think she left so unprepared for the weather with regards to clothing.

“It’s worrying because its the first time she’s gone missing, the weather is extremely cold outside and we know she doesn’t have any other clothes there. We have spoken to all her family and friends at this time and she has not made contact with them which makes us increasingly concerned for her.” He added that dedicated officers are working with the family and any new information is going straight to them. Sophie’s family and friends took to social media to share photos of her to help jog people’s memories in the efforts to find her and posts where shared thousands of times. A Facebook group has also been set up called “Find Sophie Smith” and had attracted hundreds of supporters in the hours after her disappearance.

Police have asked anyone who may have information about her whereabouts to contact Norfolk Police on 101.

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