UK & World News

  • 8 May 2014, 23:12

Madeleine McCann Police Flown Over Search Sites

British detectives had a four-hour meeting with their Portuguese colleagues to set a timetable for ground searches in the renewed search for missing Madeleine McCann.

The Scotland Yard team later reportedly flew in a military chopper to photograph potential search sites in Praia da Luz, the Algarve resort where Madeleine vanished seven years ago.

The UK police were also said to be discussing their request to interview eight witness they believe could still have vital clues to the mystery.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood refused to answer questions as he and four colleagues went into the meeting in Faro.

Senior officers say they have been warned the Portuguese authorities will withdraw co-operation if they discuss any aspect of this new dynamic phase of the investigation.

Searches of several sites in Praia da Luz are expected to begin soon, with the Scotland Yard detectives present as advisers and observers.

The areas are thought to include a road with trenches that were later filled in by road workers, a patch of wasteland and a part of the beach.

British police identified the sites after a review of evidence collected by Portuguese police in its original investigation, which was shelved 15 months after Madeleine disappeared from her bed in her family's holiday apartment.

Traders in the popular resort said they hoped the searches would help solve the mystery, but did not welcome renewed police and media attention.

Carlos Rodrigues, owner of the seafront Galley restaurant, said: "Of course we hope the searches bring news for Madeleine's family, and good news, but this should have been done properly seven years ago. It will damage business in what is already a bad year for tourism here."

Ana Faria, who runs a jewellery stall on the promenade, said: "If the searches reveal the truth that is good, that's all people want, but this could reopen fears of families that this is not a safe place, which is not true."

The Scotland Yard detectives are expected to fly home on Friday, while details of the searches are finalised.

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