Dog team on stand-by for missing girl search

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NAVIGATORS and search and rescue dogs from Bury St Edmunds were among volunteers in East Anglia on stand-by yesterday as the search for missing five-year-old April Jones continued.

Kevin Waterson, the founder of Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue and National Search and Rescue Dog Association (NSARDA) Anglia, said his team had been on stand-by since Wednesday and were prepared to be called in to assist search teams in Wales at any time.

“We’re here, we’re ready and we’re waiting for the call,” he said.

Mr Waterson was keeping up-to-date on the progress of the searches, which got under way following April’s reported abduction on Monday night.

Yesterday, he said air scenting dogs and training dogs, which are given scents to find from specimens of clothing and sent to search different areas, were being used to scour the land but that no drowned victim search dogs had been called in at that time.

He said: “I think they’ve realised that they need specialist resources and that’s what they’ve got now.

“The people there are well experienced but the dogs will get tired and if they need extra resources they’ll call us in.”

If requested, NSARDA Anglia has seven graded dogs that could be used, along with nine navigators who would be expected to accompany them.

Mr Waterson also has a search management team qualification, so could be of further assistance.

The last criminal search NSARDA Anglia was involved in was the Ipswich serial murders in 2006.

Mr waterson said a search dog belonging to one of his team members had been responsible for finding a piece of clothing which had helped with the discovery of one of the Ipswich murder victims.

April Jones is believed to have been snatched near her home in Machynlleth, in mid Wales.