Cash reward offered in search for missing Gorleston student Sophie Smith

A reward has been offered for information leading to the safe return of missing Sophie Smith. Pictur

A reward has been offered for information leading to the safe return of missing Sophie Smith. Pictured, l-r, are family members aunt Rebecca Russell, dad Martin Knowles and sister Sarah Knowles. Picture: ANTONY KELLY/NORFOLK POLICE - Credit: Archant

A £5,000 reward has been offered in the hope of finding information which leads to the safe return of missing Gorleston student Sophie Smith.

The gesture has been made by Jason Smith, from Gorleston-based RJS Builders and will only be paid following information which leads directly to the safe return of the 21-year-old.

Miss Smith has been missing since 3am on Boxing Day after leaving her home in Avondale Road in Gorleston wearing just a vest and shorts. She did not have her mobile phone with her.

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

Miss Smith’s disappearance has been met with an outpouring of support from the local community with hundreds of people joining 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 on Saturday afternoon.

At noon, 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.

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

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

Miss Smith’s father this week made an heart-wrenching appeal for his daughter to come back home - telling her that her family and friends love her.

The University of East Anglia biomedicine student had been suffering from severe anxiety and depression and police believe the “most likely scenario” is she entered the sea at Gorleston.

MORE: University student who vanished on Boxing Day may have gone into sea, police believe.

Sophie is described as white, about 5ft 8ins tall and slim with shoulder-length blonde hair.

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

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