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Payne family video
of Sarah taken a few days before she disappeared
 real 28k

The BBC's Daniela Relph
"An investigation that now desperately needs a breakthrough"
 real 28k

Sarah's mother Sara Payne
"I just know she's OK"
 real 28k

Detective Superintendent Alan Ladley
"Focussing very much on the hope that she is alive"
 real 28k

Thursday, 6 July, 2000, 05:14 GMT 06:14 UK
Search for missing Sarah scaled down
Police search a field
Blanket searches have failed to find Sarah Payne
Sussex police are scaling down the blanket searches for missing eight-year-old Sarah Payne after hundreds of volunteers combed the countryside with no sign of the child.

Investigators will now concentrate their resources on following specific leads in the inquiry, which include claims that other children in the West Sussex area were the victims of recent attempted abductions.

Sarah's parents Sara and Michael Payne will also release home video clips of their daughter on Thursday in an attempt to draw out fresh clues to her whereabouts.

Sarah Payne
Home video of Sarah is to be released
Two men who were arrested earlier in connection with the girl's disappearance have been released on police bail.

Sarah has not been seen since she disappeared from fields near her grandparents' home in East Preston, West Sussex on Saturday.

Police are also investigating reports from another eight-year-old that she was chased by a man just four hours before Sarah went missing in the same area.

The girl, who lives on a new housing estate in the northern part of Littlehampton, said she was chased down a road by a man with brown hair and a moustache as she cycled with a friend.

Identity parade

Police said the release of the two men arrested in connection with the investigation did not change the direction of their inquiry.

Sussex assistant chief constable Nigel Yeo said: "This is still a missing persons inquiry and this does not make any difference to the intensity with which, or the direction in which, and certainly not the vigour in which we are pursuing it."

I know we are taking our time but we are coming - we are trying our best, sweetheart

Sara Payne
A 40-year-old man released on Wednesday evening had taken part in an identity parade at Brighton police station involving Sarah's elder brother Lee, 13.

The teenager is a vital witness for police as he saw a white van and a grey Ford Mondeo on the lane shortly before Sarah's disappearance.

Earlier on Wednesday Sarah's parents said they were convinced their daughter was still alive.

Mrs Payne said everybody was staying positive and she could feel the hope in everyone involved in the continued search for Sarah.

"Sarah is OK, she is fine. She's out there somewhere," she said.

The couple said their other children - Lee, 13, Luke, 11 and six-year-old Charlotte were getting worse as it was the longest they had ever been apart from their sister.

In an appeal to Sarah herself in case she was watching the television, Mrs Payne said: "We are coming. I know we are taking our time but we are coming. We are trying our best, sweetheart."

Crime profiler brought in

The full-scale hunt for Sarah - involving hundreds of volunteers and specialist police search teams - had continued on Wednesday as several beauty spots in the countryside surrounding Littlehampton were searched.

Police are understood to be considering staging a reconstruction of Sarah's last-known movements and have enlisted the help of a crime profiler from the National Crime Faculty, who is believed to be advising senior officers on potential areas to search.

Mr Yeo said Wednesday was expected to be the final day of large-scale mass searches and said the hunt would now target specific areas based on information received.

He said police had now received more than 1300 calls about the disappearance.

Sarah was last seen wearing shiny black nylon shoes with Velcro fastenings and a blue Fred Perry style tennis dress. Her blonde hair is cut in a bob.

Anyone with information about the disappearance should contact Sussex police on 0845 6070999.

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