Hundreds of people have joined the search for a missing teenager as fears grow for her safety.

The family of Gaia Pope, 19, say they are living a “waking nightmare” after she disappeared on Tuesday.

Gaia (pictured below), who lives in Langton Matravers, has severe epilepsy and may have been distressed when she left. She was last seen at Manor Gardens in Morrison Road, Swanage – where she had been staying – at around 4pm.

Dorset Echo:

Police have released a brief section of CCTV footage which shows Gaia in Morison Road at around 3.39pm (see picture gallery).

Dog units, the NPAS helicopter, DorSAR and Coastguard officials have joined searches led by Dorset Police.

Investigations have also involved CCTV and house-to-house enquiries. Vehicle stop checks took place in the Swanage area this afternoon.

“This is a waking nightmare for Gaia’s family but we are so grateful to our community who have been out searching for her,” said Gaia’s cousin Marienna Pope-Weidemann.

“Gaia, if you hear this, we love you with all our hearts.”

Thousands of people have shared appeals for information on social media.

Others have added to a growing spreadsheet of locations around the county - including cafes, coast paths, woodland and train stations - that have been visited and searched.

Gaia’s family has also set up bases in Swanage to provide searchers with fliers.

Marienna thanked the emergency services and those who have joined searches around Dorset.

“The support from the whole community in Swanage has been amazing,” she said.

“I’m getting calls from endless people I have never met who are saying, ‘If that was my little girl, if that was my sister, I would need people to be out there searching as well’.”

She also urged Gaia to let the family know she is safe and well, if she can adding: “If that is not possible, I don’t want you to be scared because everyone in looking for you.

“We are doing everything we can.

“We are going to have you home soon.”

Gaia is described as white, 5ft 7ins tall, of medium build and with long, mousey blonde hair. She recently had red lowlights and lighter blonde highlights added to her hair.

She was said to be wearing a red checked shirt with white buttons, grey and white woven leggings and white trainers when she went missing.

Inspector Andy Edwards, of Dorset Police, said: “As part of our investigation we have found CCTV footage of Gaia which captured her on Morrison Road at 3.39pm on Tuesday November 7.

"I am releasing this image in the hope that it might jog someone’s memory. If you recall seeing Gaia, or a woman matching the description given, please contact Dorset Police.

“Officers are continuing to search the Swanage area and are grateful to all our partner agencies and volunteer groups for their assistance.

“We are doing everything possible to try and locate Gaia.

“Our thoughts are with her family at what must be a very difficult time and we are doing everything we possibly can to support them.

“I would urge any members of the public who have information as to her where Gaia could be, or who see a woman matching the description given, to contact police immediately.

“We would also urge anyone who may have dashcam footage from their vehicles covering major routes in Swanage over the last three days to review it to see if there are any sightings of someone matching Gaia’s description. 

“Finally, I would appeal to Gaia directly, if she sees this appeal, to contact us or your family as we all want to ensure that you are safe and well.”

Anyone with information should call 101, quoting 7:311.