Coastline search underway for missing student Sophie Smith

The search for Sophie Smith Credit: ITV Anglia

A coastline search is taking place for missing student Sophie Smith.

The 21-year-old Gorleston woman disappeared from her home on Avondale Road home in the early hours of Boxing Day wearing only a vest and shorts.

Norfolk Police have acknowledged that she is thought to have "gone into the sea" after battling depression.

Sophie had been receiving treatment for depression and anxiety. Our enquiries have revealed there’s been a degree of pre-planning to her disappearance and this, combined with her mental state and comments made the previous day, suggest the most likely scenario is that she has gone into the sea. The sea searches will be carried out by the coastguard while the police helicopter is being deployed to conduct coastline searches. Based on tidal analysis, the searches will be carried out in targeted areas.

Inspector Will Drummond
The coast at Gorleston Credit: ITV Anglia

Sophie left the family home at about 3am on December 26th and she is captured on CCTV a short time later heading towards the seafront.

Officers say she didn't take her mobile phone and hasn't accessed her bank accounts or social media accounts since she left home.

There have been no other confirmed sightings since then.

Friends and family continue searching Credit: ITV Anglia

Police had earlier said that "the hope of finding Sophie safe and well diminishes as time goes on".

A Facebook page called Find Sophie Smith has gained more than 23,000 followers, and volunteers have helped co-ordinate their own searches.

Her family are also thanking people who have been involved in the search so far and for all the messages of support they have received.