A MAN arrested on suspicion of murder after the disappearance of Gaia Pope has been released under investigation.

It comes as Gaia's family confirmed that clothing found in a field near Swanage is believed to match what the teenager was wearing on the day she went missing. 

The 49-year-old man, named locally as Paul Elsey, was arrested on Thursday afternoon on suspicion of murder.

He lives in Swanage and is known to Gaia.

Police say he has been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

Gaia's mother, Natasha Pope, has said tonight: "I believe in this community and I believe miracles can happen.

"I am holding onto hope, along with Gaia's sisters and the whole family who are my strength.

"Please hold on with us. My eternal thanks to everyone who is out there searching for my little girl. Please come out over the weekend and do what you can. Every one of you makes a difference."

Gaia, 19 and from Langton Matravers, was staying at an address in Swanage when she disappeared on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 7.

Since her disappearance searches of the land and coastline in Swanage and surrounding area have taken place with searches being carried out on a clifftop near Swanage.

On Saturday, members of the community are due to carry out a mass search for missing Gaia. 

It will take place from midday and people are being asked to meet at either Durlston Country Park car park, King George's Playing Field car park and Day's Park car park. 

At 10.28am on Thursday, items of women's clothing were found by a member of the public in a field north of the coastal path near Swanage.

Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell, of the Major Crime Investigation Team, said: "The clothing located south of Priests Way appear to be Gaia's and her family have confirmed they match what she was believed to have been wearing the day she went missing.

"Yesterday and today specialist officers and teams, supported by Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue, the coastguard, national search advisors and the NPAS helicopter, have been conducting detailed searches and forensic examinations of fields and open areas.

"Wide area searches have also been carried out with the assistance of Dorset Search and Rescue and volunteers in the community.

"Our search area spans over many square miles of grassland, gorse, bracken and undulating difficult terrain and the public can expect to see officers continuing searches there for a number of days and beyond. We would like to repeat our thanks to them for their support and understanding as our large scale investigation continues.

"The community will be aware that this rural area surrounding Purbeck is a wide expanse of challenging ground, much of which is exposed to the elements. In addition, the cliffs along the coast are dangerous and the seas can be unpredictable.

"While we are grateful to the public's ongoing help, I would like to advise them not to put themselves in danger and to allow the specially-trained experts to cover this area in a controlled manner. Coordinated local volunteers who are in liaison with the police search operation are continuing to assist.

"I would like to renew our appeal to anyone who may have seen Gaia in the area of Manor Gardens and south of Priests Way since 3.30pm on Tuesday 7 November.

"Finally, and most importantly, our thoughts remain with Gaia's family at this extremely distressing and difficult time. Specially-trained officers continue to support and update them and their wellbeing is central to our actions."

On Monday, November 13, search warrants were carried out at two addresses in Swanage and searches there are in the final stages. As part of our investigations, three vehicles have been seized.

A 19-year-old man and a 71-year-old woman, both from the Swanage area and also known to Gaia, were arrested on suspicion of murder and subsequently released under investigation.

The last reported sighting of Gaia was at an address in Manor Gardens on Morrison Road at around 4pm on Tuesday, November 7.

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

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting incident number 16:301. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.