UK & World News

  • 2 June 2014, 18:27

Madeleine McCann: UK Cops Search Scrubland

British police teams have started a search of scrubland on the Algarve in their renewed investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

A team of around 30 officers and police staff have travelled to Praia da Luz and began by unloading equipment and mapping out the four acre site.

The cordoned off area is a five-minute walk from the Ocean Club complex where Madeleine, who was three at the time, was staying with her family in May 2007.

Parents Gerry and Kate McCann will be kept updated but have not travelled to Portugal.

The agreement between the Metropolitan Police and their Portuguese counterparts is limited to one search area after the British team failed to get permission to search elsewhere in the resort.

It is understood they will use ground penetrating radar to identify any anomalies within the ground that may warrant further investigation with police dogs or physical digging.

Other potential search sites include another area of scrubland close to the McCanns' holiday apartment.

The land which had been earmarked for development is now fenced off but was an open area on the night Madeleine vanished.

Former Scotland Yard detective Peter Bleksley told Sky News the radar equipment likely to be used in the operation can detect if the ground has been disturbed as far back as seven years ago.

British expat residents in the town have confirmed they recently saw a military aircraft flying for long periods possibly conducting aerial reconnaissance.

The renewed activity by authorities has caused anger in the resort among expats and business owners who just want to move on.

One Dutch resident, called 'Nana', complained that the police and the press are back.

She told Sky News the timing of the search at the start of the tourist season was "outrageous" and doing "tremendous" damage to the town, adding: "Luz is totally innocent."

She also wore a sign around her neck, saying: "Dig up the lies not Luz."

'Nana' denied police were doing everything they could, saying "they are on the wrong path".

The publisher of the Portugal News newspaper Paul Luckman who lives nearby said the local police are co-operating with the British teams.

He said: "They are going to do what is asked of them, they will do it professionally and properly...our information is that it will go on until the end of this week.

"I think realistically we have to say we have reached the end of the line here....there isn't anything left to do after this."

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