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Fears grow for missing 14-year-old schoolgirl as police release CCTV of her talking to a stranger on night she went missingShelley Pratt was last seen in Croydon town centre five weeks ago
Officers becoming increasingly concerned for the safety of the teenagerStill being treated as a missing persons' inquiry, although murder squad officers are running the investigation
20:35 GMT, 13 December 2012
CCTV images have been released of a missing 14-year-old schoolgirl talking to a mystery man on the night she disappeared.
Officers are becoming increasingly concerned for the safety of Shelley Pratt, who was seen talking to the stranger at around 9.30pm on the day she went missing in Croydon town centre, south London.
Detectives say the man was seen chatting to other women earlier on November 8 and they are appealing for information about him.
Shelley Pratt, 14, from Croydon, who has been missing for five weeks, walking with a young black man along Croydon High Street just after midnight on Friday, November 9
Shelley Pratt, 14, from Croydon, was last seen on November 8. She has been missing since
Murder team detectives are leading the search for Shelley, who is white and around 5ft 6in tall with long brown hair.
A police spokesman said : 'As time goes on, concern for her becomes greater.
'We have had several responses to our earlier appeals and these are being followed up, but we have had no confirmed sightings of Shelley since the night she went missing.'
Shelley vanished after getting off a bus outside the Harris Academy in South Norwood, south London.
Although she seemed to be heading towards her home, she failed to arrive. The CCTV pictures from show her wandering around Croydon town centre in her school uniform trousers.
Her worried parents, Lisa and Tony Pratt, fear she has been abducted as she took no money, mobile phone or change of clothes with her.
CCTV of schoolgirl Shelley Pratt, 14, (centre) who disappeared more than three weeks ago, seen here at George Street tram stop in Croydon town centre on November 8
Today, they made a fresh appeal for her to contact them.
They said: 'Shellz, please get in touch with us. We are desperate to hear your voice and know that you are safe and well.
'You are not in trouble. We love you and we miss you and just want you home, without you there will be no Christmas.
'Your presents are under the tree waiting for you. We are all missing you like mad. We love you, please, please come home.'
Shelley was wearing a distinctive dark purple hooded jumper with the slogan 'I love London.'
Police know she used her Oyster card to board a Number 60 bus for Coulsdon five minutes after she was seen in Croydon town centre, but they have no information about her after that.
'Shellz, please get in touch with us. We are desperate to hear your voice and know that you are safe and well.'
Shelley's mother, Lisa Pratt
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Dunne, who is leading the hunt, said: 'It has now been five weeks since Shelley went missing and concerns for her safety and welfare especially in this extremely cold weather are heightened.
'Shelley has had absolutely no contact with friends or family since her disappearance and it is possible that she may be with someone, perhaps in a house or a flat.
'I am encouraging people, particularly Croydon residents to look closely at the image of the young man seen next to her.
'Do you recognise him or did you see him moments before approaching Shelley, talking to a number of passing girls on the opposite pavement – clearly trying to get their attention
'As a result of our appeals, we have received a number of unconfirmed sightings during November and December which we are in the process of following up.'
A Croydon police spokesman said Shelley's disappearance was still being treated as a missing persons' inquiry, although murder squad officers are running the investigation.
The spokesman said: 'We only have five or six officers in our missing persons' team, while the specialist crime command under Detective Chief Inspector Mark Dunne has 20 officers.
'It is not being treated as a murder investigation at the moment.'