Scotland Yard is appealing for information about three missing east London schoolgirls. They are feared to have travelled to Syria via Turkey, police say. They have released a CCTV still of the three girls at Gatwick airport.

Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and another 15-year-old girl, who are all pupils at Bethnal Green Academy, flew from Gatwick to Istanbul on Tuesday, during their half-term break. Their families had no idea they were going.

Cmdr Richard Walton of the Counter Terrorism Command said he hoped an appeal would prevent the girls crossing the Turkish-Syrian border and he confirmed that Met Police were in contact with their Turkish counterparts.

In January Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe urged parents to raise the alarm if they feared their child could be heading abroad to fight for Islamic fanatics. He was speaking after officers prevented four girls making the journey.

He said: "This is not about criminalising people, this is about preventing tragedies.

"We are extremely concerned for the safety of these young girls and would urge anyone with information to come forward and speak to police.

"Our priority is the safe return of these girls to their families.

"We are reaching out to the girls using the Turkish media and social media in the hope that Shamima, Kadiza and their friend hear our messages, hear our concerns for their safety and have the courage to return to their families who are so worried about them."