The family of a five-year-old girl who was abducted from her home town in Wales have said their lives have been "shattered" and pleaded for her safe return.

April Jones was last seen getting into a light-coloured van near her home in Brynygog at around 7.30pm yesterday.

A 46-year-old man was arrested this afternoon in connection with the disappearance and is currently being questioned by police.

The man, who is from the Machynlleth area of Powys, was caught on foot but his empty car was quickly recovered, police investigating April Jones’ disappearance have said.

It is understood he is known to the five-year-old’s family and forensic officers are continuing to examine the vehicle they recovered, which they said the man "had use of".

Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan of Dyfed Powys police said they had not found any trace of April yet.

"It's still at the stage where she remains missing," he said. "We are pursuing every line of inquiry that may result in finding April.

"At this stage we've found nothing."

Mr Bevan described the arrested man as a "significant individual, hence we made that arrest".

He said police had recovered one vehicle, which belongs to the man in custody.

"At this stage that is similar to the description given by the children."

A massive search operation has also been mounted since the Machynlleth primary pupil disappeared.

More than 200 people volunteered to take part in a police search, while thousands more have highlighted the issue on social media.

Police have also stepped up their investigations further by deploying Dyfed Powys Police's force helicopter, fitted with some of the latest thermal imaging technology, and using trained officers to search the bank along the River Dyfi.

Superintendent Ian John, the local police commander, said specialist police officers and mountain rescue were continuing to search.

"We ask the public to take this opportunity to have some rest and if they're available to consider coming and helping us again tomorrow," Mr John said.

"The residents have really shown themselves to be a very close-knit and kind hearted community."