UPDATE: The family of Lucas Dobson have said thank you to all those who have helped in the search and asked people not to give up on the six-year-old.
Kent Police and partner agencies are now in the fourth day of the search for the Deal schoolboy who fell into a river in Sandwich.
Officers were called to the incident in Richborough Road at 1.20pm on Saturday (August 17) after Lucas Dobson fell into the water while fishing.
A large scale search has taken place over the past three days in the River Stour and surrounding areas by the emergency services and hundreds of willing volunteers.
As of today (August 20) officers are advising members of the public to refrain from attending the area of the river in order that experts have the space to continue their specialist work.
Chief Inspector Mark Weller of Kent Police said: “We have seen an incredible amount of support from volunteers within the local community and from further afield. As such, we have been able to search a wide space in such a short period of time. This has ruled out several areas and therefore our attention turns exclusively to the river.
“I speak on behalf of all the emergency services when I say thank you for the help we have received – the efforts and compassion of volunteers has been heart-warming and their value and help cannot be overstated.
“However, we are now at a stage where the river is our sole focus, given the time that has passed since Lucas disappeared.
“I don’t think the dangers of the water have been lost on anybody since the weekend and as difficult as it is for us to ask, we are requesting people stay away from physically helping us search the river. This is for their own safety as well as that of emergency service workers in the area.
“Experts from across all the emergency services including Kent Fire and Rescue Service, HM Coastguard and Kent Search and Rescue continue to use specialist equipment in order to locate Lucas. This includes sonar detectors, underwater cameras, divers, dogs and drones.
“Once again, I thank everyone for their hard work and our thoughts are with Lucas’ family at this time.”
Sonar scanning equipment is in use on the river and Kent Fire and Rescue Service has its drone out at the site.