UK & World News

  • 1 July 2014, 16:32

Madeleine: Search Dogs Return To Portugal

Police dogs are ready to begin the latest search for Madeleine McCann in Portugal, Sky sources say.

British detectives havereturned to the country as the questioning of a number of suspectsover the disappearance of the three-year-old from Praia da Luz in 2007 begins.

It is thought the UK officers are sitting in on the interviews but will not ask questions themselves.

Sky's Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt said up to a dozen people could be spoken to this week, eight potential witnesses and four suspects.

He added three of the suspects are former employees of the resort where the McCanns were staying and are suspected of carrying out burglaries in the months before Madeleine disappeared.

The interviews form part of the second phase of the Scotland Yard probe on the ground in the Algarve.

South Wales Police have confirmed two of its search dogs and their handlers have returned to Portugal to help with searches.

Last month, two of the force's victim detection dogs, English Springer Spaniels Tito and Muzzy, travelled to the Algarve to help.

Brunt said: "It's not clear what role they're going to fulfil this time or when indeed they'll be put back to work, but we know that interviews this morning have begun, with a number of people, up to a dozen over the next few days, of suspects and witnesses.

"It may be that police are waiting for information from those people being questioned that might lead to the new searches or these are potential searches that were already planned to carry on."

Neither the Metropolitan Police nor officers in Portugal have made any official comment on the reports.

The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Kate and Gerry will simply not comment on any operational aspect of the Metropolitan Police work.

"What the police do and when they do it is a matter for them."

The same team of British police who were involved in the digging of several sites outside Praia da Luz earlier in June arrived back in Portugal on Monday.

At the start of June an area of scrubland to the west of the resort was sealed off by Portuguese police and excavated by the British team.

Searches of a second and then third site were similarly carried out, with the use of sniffer dogs from South Wales Police, of an area between Praia da Luz and the town of Lagos behind a water treatment plant on June 11.

Advertisement