The 46-year-old man, Mark Bridger, is currently in police custody. He is believed to be known by the Jones family and lives a few streets away.

Police in Aberystwyth said “He came into the inquiry as a result of initial investigations and we have been anxious to trace him. He has a vehicle similar to what was seen near to where April went missing.”

The vehicle in question is believed to be a distinctive left-hand drive mid-90s Land Rover Discovery.

A statement from the Jones family read “Our lives were shattered when our beautiful little girl April, who was playing with friends, was taken from us. We are devastated and our lives have stopped.

“Please, please, if you have our little girl let her come home to us. This is such a small, close-knit community and we plead with anyone who has information, no matter how small they may think it is, to contact the police immediately. Please help us bring home our beautiful girl.”

Police have continued their search of rivers and woodland in the area in the hope that they will find April Jones alive, and have been questioning known paedophiles living in the vicinity.

Yesterday Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Powell issued a an appeal for information, saying: “April was last seen playing on a bicycle near her home address at around 7.30pm and was seen getting into what we believe was a light-coloured van which then drove off.

“We are obviously becoming increasing concerned for her safety and are asking for anyone with information to please contact us on 101.”

Today a new police hotline number has been set up: 0300 2000 333. April was last seen wearing a purple coat with fur hood and black trousers with a white school polo shirt.

Image via Dyfed Powys Police