The search for April Jones has entered its third day after the five-year-old was abducted from her home town.

Her parents said their lives have been "shattered" and pleaded for her safe return.

April was last seen getting into a light coloured van in Machynlleth in mid Wales on Monday evening, and a 46-year-old man, named by sources as Mark Bridger, was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of her abduction. He was known to April's mother, Coral and father, Paul.

In a statement, read out by Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan of Dyfed Powys Police, April's family said: "Last night 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 any information, no matter how small they may think it is, to contact the police immediately. Please help us bring home our beautiful little girl."

Mr Bridger, 46, from Machynlleth, was on foot when detained by police - less than 24 hours after April had been seen getting in a mystery van on the quiet housing estate where she lives. He was being questioned by detectives on Tuesday night, and his vehicle was examined by forensics teams. It is a mid-90s Land Rover Discovery with left-hand drive.

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Bevan said detectives were "following various lines of inquiry".

He told the media: "We are continuing the investigation into the abduction of five-year-old April Jones from Machynlleth. As you are aware, an arrest was made earlier today at approximately 3.30pm of a 46-year-old local man on suspicion of abduction. He remains in police custody at Aberystwyth Police Station and we will be interviewing him this evening.

"April was abducted at around 7pm on Monday night from Brynygog estate in Machynlleth. We are still following various lines of inquiry with the priority to find April."

Superintendent Ian John, the local police commander, said: "We are hopeful that we can still find April safe and well."