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Shannon police help hunt for Tia
Police officers search through rubbish bins near Tia Sharp's grandmother's home in New Addington, London
Police from the force that investigated the kidnapping of Shannon Matthews are now involved in the search for missing schoolgirl Tia Sharp, Scotland Yard has confirmed.
Tia, 12, has never run away before but vanished without a trace on Friday afternoon after telling relatives she was going shopping at the Whitgift Centre in Croydon.
Officers from West Yorkshire Police are now involved in the search for Tia. Scotland Yard said they have been drafted in for their expertise in kidnap cases, in particular the disappearance of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews, who was kidnapped by her mother and her partner's uncle in February 2008.
Karen Matthews and her accomplice Michael Donovan, from Dewsbury, were convicted in December 2008 of her kidnap, which they committed in a plan to claim £50,000 in reward money. They were both sentenced to eight years in jail but have since been released.
A police spokesman said: "As is routine we liase with all forces that have dealt with similar cases. This case is like the Shannon Matthews case. This is a missing persons case and we are putting all our resources into finding her."
Tia is thought to have been last seen at the house where her grandmother Christine Sharp, 46, lives with partner Stuart Hazell, 37, at The Lindens in New Addington, south-east London. Mr Hazell, thought to be one of the last people to see Tia, was questioned by police as a witness for more than two hours yesterday before returning home.
Police have searched Tia's grandmother's bins and others around the estate, using sticks to scour through rubbish.
Tia's mother, Natalie Sharp, 30, said she did not want to speak to reporters but her partner, David Niles, 29, who left the house briefly to buy newspapers, said Mr Hazell would be giving a statement later.
More than 80 officers have joined the hunt for Tia, while members of the local community have staged their own searches in the area where she vanished. Scotland Yard has received more than 300 calls and 60 reported sightings of Tia, including a member of the public who came forward saying they saw her leaving her grandmother's house at about noon on Friday.
Mr Niles left the house, again wearing a Find Tia T-shirt, and said to reporters: "Just find my little girl, just find my little girl please." Tia's uncle, David Sharp, later arrived at his mother's house but did not answer reporters' questions, saying: "Talk to the police for any information."