UK & World News

  • 7 May 2014, 18:22

Madeleine McCann: 'UK Police Searches Refused'

British police investigating Madeleine McCann's disappearance have reportedly been refused permission to search the homes of three burglary suspects.

According to local media in Praia da Luz, where the three-year-old went missing in 2007, Portuguese authorities declined requests from Metropolitan Police.

It comes after it was reported that they had approved plans for officers from Scotland Yard to dig for evidence at several locations in the resort.

Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt, in Praia da Luz, said: "One of the local newspapers, the News Journal, is reporting that one of the things that is being rejected by Portuguese authorities is a Scotland Yard plea to search the homes of three men who used to work here at the Ocean Complex at the time Madeleine vanished and are suspected of a number of break-ins in the days, weeks leading up to her disappearance.

"So that's a blow for Scotland Yard. They had identified three ex-workers who they wanted to talk to, potential suspects not necessarily around Madeleine's disappearance, but had been involved in break-ins, according to information Scotland Yard had."

He said disagreements over leaks to the media may delay British police in their efforts to scour areas they will be given access to.

"I'm not sure that those searches are going to begin quite so quickly," he said.

"Last night we saw what appears to be a developing row between the British authorities and the Portuguese authorities about essentially Scotland Yard giving out information to journalists about what is going to happen.

"The Portuguese are making it very clear that they were not happy with journalists being briefed. It's not something that happens in this country and in fact, the Portuguese authorities, according to the Scotland Yard message last night, had threatened to stop any of the work once it begins if they hear that Scotland Yard are talking to reporters, or indeed if reporters are in any way disrupting the work.

"I get a sense that because of this developing row, that may put off what is going to happen soon, but maybe not in the next couple of days as we anticipated."

Forensics officers are due to use ground penetrating radar equipment to aid the search at three sites in Praia da Luz.

Madeleine disappeared from the apartment she was staying in with her parents and two siblings on May 3, 2007. She was three years old at the time she vanished.

Kate McCann told Sky News last week, on the seventh anniversary of her daughter's disappearance, that she needed to know what happened - even if it was the "worst-case scenario".

"Madeleine's either alive or she isn't and we can't change that."

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