Missing five-year-old April Jones feared abducted. Photo: Police handout

A five-year-old girl is feared to have been abducted in mid-Wales after going missing from her home.

April Jones was riding a bike with her friend before she disappeared near her home in the mid-Wales town of Machynlleth on the evening of 1 October.

April was last seen at around 19:30 BST getting in to a light coloured van, which then drove away. This information was reportedly given to the police by the friend she was playing with.

"Dyfed-Powys Police have launched an intensive search and criminal investigation into the abduction of a five-year-old girl, April Jones, in Machynllet," said detective chief superintendent Simon Powell.

"April Jones was last seen playing with her friend on their bikes near to garages in the town at around 19:30hrs this evening," said a statement in the Dyfed-Powys Police website.

"April was seen getting into a light coloured van or van-sized vehicle which then drove off."

April was playing with her friends when she vanished. Photo: Police handout.

Dyfed-Powys Police have released the photographs of April and have urged the public to call 101 if they can provide any information on the child's whereabouts.

Nearly 200 people from the local area gathered at the Machynlleth Leisure Centre and joined the search for April within hours of her disappearance.

Police have since intensified the hunt for the abductors with the help of fire service and dog squads.

"There is mention of a grey van, we're looking at that as one of the angles of inquiry. Nothing is being overlooked. It's an angle, it's an inquiry that we're pursuing along with other angles," Inspector Kevin Davies told the BBC.

"The family are obviously distressed. We're trying to keep them informed, we've got an officer allocated to them just to keep them informed as to what's happening. Any information, we'll share with them."