UK & World News

  • 4 June 2014, 5:52

Madeleine McCann: Digging Begins In Scrubland

Officers have begun digging and clearing an area of scrubland in Praia da Luz as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Sky Correspondent Tom Parmenterdescribed the clearing and digging operation as "meticulous" and said officers were scouring through soil near yellow flag markers.

He said: "We have seen British police officers focusing on this particular scrap of land.

"They are moving stones and soil from the top of a piece of corrugated iron which has quite a hole around it."

He added that teams had been mapping the area over the last 24 hours and Portuguese workmen had been clearing some of the undergrowth with strimmers ahead of the search operation.

It comes after British police brought in sniffer dogs on Tuesday to help search the area, which is a five-minute walk from the apartment where then three-year-old Madeleine disappeared in 2007.

The site has been cordoned off and sections of it divided up with blue and white police tape.

Three police tents have been set up, but they are thought to be where the teams are storing equipment and taking breaks rather than covering significant parts of the scrubland.

The victim detection dogs, Tito and Muzzy, took part in the 2012 search for murdered schoolgirl April Jones.

At least 30 officers arrived early on Tuesday morning for the second day of the search. Sky sources understand a team of specialist forensic archaeologists are also working on the site.

Radar expert Rom Gostomski, from London-based Sandberg, told Sky News: "The radar uses electro-magnetic waves that are fired into the sub-surface at a pretty rapid rate and we measure what comes back from those signals.

"If you have got a buried object that is sufficiently different, with different properties from the surrounding area, it will show up very, very clearly; whereas if you have got a gradual change it can be difficult to detect."

The hot and predominantly dry climate on the Algarve, where temperatures regularly top 30C, mean the ground will be far drier than in northern Europe.

Scotland Yard has said it will not provide a "running commentary" on the search operation.

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