The purpose of this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many Thanks, Pamalam

Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use the contact/email details campaign@findmadeleine.com    

Police Searches - Praia da Luz - Day Two*

MCCANN FILES HOME BACK TO GERRY MCCANNS BLOGS HOME PAGE PHOTOGRAPHS
NEWS REPORTS INDEX MCCANN PJ FILES NEWS MAY 2007
 

03 June 2014 - Page currently being updated

Maddie cops move in, 02/03 June 2014
Maddie cops move in Daily Mirror (paper edition)

 
Daily Mirror, 03 June 2014

AGONY OF THE McCANNS

Parents braced for the worst as Brit police start dig using radar

BY MARTIN FRICKER IN PRAIA DA LUZ
Tuesday, June 3, 2014


BRITISH police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann began digging yesterday near the spot where she vanished.

The search using radar comes seven years after the tot was snatched on holiday at Praia da Luz, Portugal.

Distraught parents Kate and Gerry were said last night to be bracing themselves for "significant news".

FULL STORY: PAGES 4&5

--------------

Madeleine McCann search 'unprecedented operation' as British police descend on holiday complex for dig Daily Mirror

Jun 02, 2014 22:30 | By Martin Fricker

A dozen British detectives and uniformed police descended on the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz, where the youngster disappeared days before her fourth birthday

Madeleine McCann search in Praia da Luz, Portugal (silent video)

 
Madeleine McCann search in Praia da Luz, Portugal

 
Madeleine McCann search in Praia da Luz, Portugal

After seven years of heartache, Kate and Gerry McCann face new agony as police began digging near the Algarve holiday complex where their daughter Madeleine disappeared.

In an unprecedented operation initiated by Scotland Yard, officers were concentrating their search on an overgrown area of scrubland as the McCanns were said to be bracing themselves for "significant news".

A dozen British detectives and uniformed police descended on the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz, where the three-year-old vanished in May 2007.

The search team, liaising with Portuguese authorities, spent more than seven hours mapping out the area, just 300 yards from the family apartment where she was last seen.

The Operation Grange team erected three forensic tents in specific spots as part of the most significant development since Madeleine was snatched.

Detectives are expected to start using ground-penetrating radar and begin excavation work for clues that could solve the tragic case.

The McCanns' Portuguese lawyer, Isabel Duarte, said the distraught couple "just want to know exactly what happened to their daughter".

She added: "It is my belief that police have some very good information to be carrying out ground searches.

"I believe there is data in the criminal file which has led to this operation because, if not, police would not be performing this very drastic task.

"Kate and Gerry have not been given any information that Madeleine is dead, and until this happens they have to believe she is still alive.

"But they think police will come up with some significant news. It is such a stressful time for them and my heart goes out to them.

"It has been so long, and the investigating officers now have new information and there may finally be some answers."

Ms Duarte added: "I don't need to ask them how they are feeling. It is very clear.

"But it is not for me to say if they fear the worse."

It was the evening of May 3, 2007 – just nine days before her fourth birthday – when Madeleine went missing from the ground floor apartment while her parents dined in a tapas restaurant with friends.

The Portuguese police case - which was criticised after Kate and Gerry, from Rothely, Leics. were named formal suspects – was shelved the following year.

Operation Grange was set up in 2011 to re-investigate the disappearance after David Cameron ordered Scotland Yard to review all the evidence.

UK police have made numerous trips to Portugal this is the first time they have carried out a search.

But the move has angered locals – with the resort's mayor speaking of his "regret" at the police activity.

Victor Mata said the timing of the search "couldn't be worse" and that residents were being "punished" by the renewed investigation.

He said: "With every search, it doesn't seem like we're going anywhere – we're going backwards.

"There was a battalion of people out here looking for the child seven years ago.

"Everybody was looking. Everyone wanted to find her. People criss-crossed that land as they did other parts of the village.

"This is a time when the number of people in Luz increases four-fold.

Mystery: Madeleine McCann

Mystery: Madeleine McCann

"Livelihoods here depend on the three summer months and this disruption is not good for business.

"I know of at least two hotels which have had cancellations as a direct result of the searches.

"But if police are certain their searches will bear fruit, locals here will be the first to assist.

"We are not against the searches, but we'd have appreciated it if they could have started in a few months' time."

One woman, known as locally as Nana, felt so strongly that she walked up to the site on Rua 25 da Abril with a handmade placard saying: "Dig up lies, not Luz".

She said: "I'm very angry, frustrated, furious. This has such a detrimental effect on Luz locally, for tourism.

"People live off tourism. Luz is suffering – and that's why I'm angry."

The search is the biggest policing operation linked to Madeleine's disappearance since the initial hunt wound down a month after she went missing.

The scrubland, which overlooks the resort's beach, was sealed off by Portuguese officer under cover of darkness in the early hours.

A military plane flew over the site and took detailed images which were emailed to the British team on the ground.

They compared the photographs with satellite imagery taken in 2007 to see if any soil has been moved over the past seven years.

A remote-controlled drone was later seen hovering above the scrubland - which is close to where a suspect was seen with a girl in his arms on the night Madeleine was abducted.

Heartbreak: Gerry and Kate McCann

Heartbreak: Gerry and Kate McCann

British police arrived in Praia da Luz at 9.30am and held a briefing with local detectives in a makeshift command centre just yards from the McCanns' old apartment.

Both groups emerged at 11.15am and left in convoy with two rented UK Europcar vans which contained the ground-penetrating radar, spades and other items.

They then mapped out the area - the size of three football pitches - with hi-tech surveying equipment.

The search site is on land owned by Belmiro de Azevedo – Portugal's second richest man and 605th on the Forbes rich list.

Officers are expected to carry out similar searches at two more sites in the resort later this week.

Scotland Yard refused to comment on the dig. Portuguese cops have also reopened their inquiry into, but have refused to set up an official joint investigation.

A local police source said: "All the technical resources have been brought in from England.

"This includes archeologists, sniffer dogs and a ground-penetrating radar, while the Portuguese resources consist of pickaxes and a digger."

Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns' official spokesman said the couple were "being kept informed".

Radar to reveal buried secrets

A modern ground-penetrating radar system allows detectives hunting for Madeleine to target excavations far more specifically than was possible before.

The four-wheeled device in use at Praia da Luz is made by the Swedish firm Mala Geoscience and costs around £24,000.

It can scan an area the size of a football pitch every day.

A similar device was used to find the remains of Richard III in a Leicester car park recently.

The machine works in a similar way to sonar but instead of sending out soundwaves it emits a radio pulse, which is reflected back from below the ground.

The signals can reveal the location of buried objects of all kinds with a different density or different electrical properties to the surrounding material.

Data can be read on a screen as the machine moves and is also stored in an onboard computer for further analysis by a geophysicist.

Gerry McCann has been given permission to speak in the £1million libel trial of Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral, who claimed in a book that Maddie's abduction was faked.

MADDIE Brit cops begin dig for body, 03 June 2014
 
MADDIE Brit cops begin dig for body Daily Star (paper edition)

 
Daily Star, 03 June 2014

 

Radar brought in to help hunt

POLICE searching for Madeleine McCann sealed off an area of scrubland yesterday 300 yards from the holiday apartment where she vanished.

Teams of officers armed with pick-axes, shovels and specialist ground-penetrating radar equipment converged on the dig site in Praia da Luz, Portugal.

Full story: Page 9

-------------------

Madeleine McCann: Diggers set to move in as high-tech investigation starts
Daily Star

BRITISH police have begun a high-tech dig in the hunt for Madeleine McCann.

By Paul Robins / Published 3rd June 2014

GRIM TASK: The digging equipment is handed out at the site as police start to investigate [STEVE REIGATE]

 

They are liaising with archaelogists and using ground-penetrating radar and sniffer dogs to comb a former cabbage patch.

A local police source said: "They have preferred to bring all the technical resources from England.

"The Portuguese resources are pickaxes and a digger."

An area just 300 yards from the Praia da Luz apartment where three-year-old Madeleine had been staying was sealed off yesterday.

It had been identified by comparing satellite photos taken before she disappeared in May 2007 with new ones taken this week by military planes.

It is also close to where a suspect was seen carrying a blonde-haired girl on the night she vanished.

MISSING: The case of Madeleine McCan has seen significant breakthroughs this year [EPA]

Within hours of arriving at the scrubland site – the size of three football pitches – officers marked key spots and erected tents over them.

Portuguese police had already secured the area and shut roads.

Work began at dawn as local officers scoured the area with binoculars while others patrolled with dogs.

Madeleine's parents Kate, 46, and Gerry, 45, were bracing themselves for "significant news".

They have remained in Britain but their lawyer Isabel Duarte said police must have "very good information".

She added: "I do not know what it is, or even if Kate and Gerry are aware, but I believe there is data in the criminal file which has led to this operation because, if not, police wouldn't be performing such a very drastic task."

Gerry has now been given permission to speak at the £1million libel trial of disgraced detective Goncalo Amaral, 57, in Lisbon.

He will tell how Amaral's book about the case had left him devastated.

Maddie cops ready to dig, 03 June 2014
Maddie cops ready to dig The Sun (paper edition)

 
The Sun, 03 June 2014

By MATT WILKINSON
Tuesday, June 3, 2014


BRITISH detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann were yesterday preparing to dig up scrubland close to where she vanished.

Officers unloaded search kits including shovels and set up three forensic tents in Praia da Luz, Portugal, where three-year-old Madeleine disappeared in May, 2007.

Full story - Page Five

-------------------
Page Five:

AS MADDIE COPS PREPARE TO DIG...

Kate and Gerry 'are braced for significant news'

From TOM WILKINSON, in Praia da Luz
Tuesday, June 3, 2014


TORMENTED Kate and Gerry McCann were last night bracing themselves for "significant news" as detectives prepared to dig up scrubland in the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

Kate, 46, and Gerry, 45, were being kept informed of any developments after Met officers flew to Portugal.

Their lawyer Isabel Duarte said: "It is my belief that police have some very good information to be carrying out ground searches.

"I believe there is data in the file which has led to this operation because, if not, the police wouldn't be performing this very drastic task.

"Kate and Gerry have not been given information that Madeleine is dead and until this happens they have to believe she is still alive.

"But they think police will come up with some significant news. It is such a stressful time for them."

Madeleine vanished from the Ocean Club holiday apartments in Praia da Luz as her parents dined at a nearby tapas bar during a family break days before her fourth birthday in 2007.

Yesterday British police set up three white forensics tents on scrubland 300 yards from the apartment.

The area is yards from where holidaymaker Martin Smith says he saw a man carrying a young child in pyjamas the night Madeleine vanished.

Overgrown

More than a dozen police and forensics experts unloaded spades and boxes of kit after parking a fleet of cars and vans on top of a mound overlooking the resort.

The overgrown scrubland, the size of three football pitches, was taped off by local police before the Met team marked out the search areas.

Police will scour the terrain with ground-penetrating radar before deciding whether to excavate with pick-axes, shovels and mechanical diggers.

The operation is expected to take two or three days before moving on to two other sites in the town. It is thought the search sites were chosen after satellite imagery was used to identify disturbances in the ground. Police are also expected to use sniffer dogs brought from the UK.

Portuguese police closed the case in 2008, but reopened their investigation after officials said new leads had emerged in a review.

Praia da Luz mayor Victor Mata complained the search will damage the town's vital tourism industry. He said: "The timing couldn't be worse. Summer essentially starts today."

Last night it emerged that Gerry, a doctor, is to give evidence in a libel trial against ex-Portuguese police chief Goncalo Amaral. It is not known if Kate will speak.

As Maddie cops prepare to dig... Kate and Gerry 'are braced for significant news', 03 June 2014
As Maddie cops prepare to dig... Kate and Gerry 'are braced for significant news' The Sun (paper edition, page 5)

As Maddie cops prepare to dig... Kate and Gerry 'are braced for significant news' - The Sun, 03 June 2014 (paper edition, page 5)
The Sun, 03 June 2014 (paper edition, page 5)

English police follow lead of man seen carrying child on his arms, 03 June 2014
English Police follow lead of man seen carrying child on his arms Jornal de Notícias (paper edition, page 14)

 
Jornal de Notícias, June 3, 2014 - paper edition


 

Sighting referenced in the [Judiciary Police] case files was crucial for selection of site to find Maddie

By Marisa Rodrigues
03 June 2014
With thanks to
Joana Morais for translation

The site in Praia da Luz where the British Police yesterday began the search for the body of Madeleine McCann was not chosen at random.

Seven years ago, a witness saw a man carrying a child in his arms in a nearby street, walking towards the beach. And, in the close vicinity, live people whom the English detectives consider to be persons "of interest".

It was the cross-checking of this data, coupled with the fact that a vacant lot underlies both factors, that has led the police to believe that the girl's body may have been buried there.

The terrain has an extension equivalent to two football fields long. According to locals, in the 60s, a resort was planned to be erected, a project that failed. For decades nothing was built there and seven years ago, when Madeleine disappeared, it was one of the places searched by the Guarda Nacional Repúblicana (GNR) with sniffer dogs.

Restricted Access

The accesses to the search sites, situated along the Rua 25 de Abril, was cut off by the GNR, shortly after midnight. At the highest point, on the top of a hill, the GNR control post was established. It was also there that they have concentrated, starting at 11 am, all the vehicles and means, and where they unloaded the equipment needed for the operation, planned to last until Friday.

Specialized technicians of an English company made ​​the photographic and topographic reconnaissance and there were police officers traversing the area on foot. Specific areas were marked with stakes and tents were mounted on top of them.

The PJ and Scotland Yard were in a meeting for about two hours. Each one of the police officers and technicians, as well as the vehicles, authorized to be on the ground received "credentials".

These steps are part of the British investigation, which now follows the theory that Madeleine was abducted, killed and buried in Praia da Luz. The Public Prosecutor's Office has authorized searches with sniffer dogs, georadar and also excavations. The latter should only take place if relevant evidence is found.

The action plan is decided on a daily basis, depending on the progress of the operations. The PJ is present, to control and monitor, but all the equipment, as well as dogs, are the responsibility of the British, who assume all costs. The coordinators of the PJ in Faro and Portimão, Luís Mota Carmo and Ana Paula Rito, have closely followed the operations.

Scotland Yard has already announced that they want to ask for more searches to be done in at least two other sites. The operations ended at 18:20pm and will be resumed this morning. For the time being, the police from both countries have not provided any official statements.

Madeleine McCann search moves to scrubland, 03 June 2014
Madeleine McCann search moves to scrubland The Guardian

Detectives may use excavators, dogs and ground-penetrating radar in area about 2km from where child went missing

Brendan de Beer in Praia da Luz and Ben Quinn
Tuesday 3 June 2014

Scrubland is being searched near Praia da Luz, southern Portugal, near where Madeleine McCann went missing in 2007. Photograph: Luis Forra/EPA

Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have begun searching a piece of land roughly the size of three football pitches near the Portuguese resort where she vanished seven years ago.

Investigators erected tents and put down numbered markers yesterday on scrubland near the resort of Praia da Luz after an area located about 2km from the apartment where the child went missing was cordoned off by local police in the early hours. Nine vehicles, including two large vans, congregated on a hilltop in the secured area, with officers surveying the area with binoculars.

A search started at 11 am, while 15 officers from the Metropolitan police left the site about three hours later. At one point, three tents had been erected.

British officers at the site included detective chief inspector Andy Redwood, the senior British officer investigating Madeleine's disappearance.

Officials have said detectives may use excavators, dogs and ground-penetrating radar in the search.

Scotland Yard refused to comment on reports that British officers were at the scene and said the force was "not prepared to give a running commentary" about the case. A local resident, who had joined a handful of residents on the fringe of the scrubland, was sceptical as to what police would achieve in their search.

"This is very rugged terrain and it hasn't rained for several days, so any digging will be a thankless task," one said.

Praia da Luz mayor Victor Mata said the people of Luz had always supported the hunt for Madeleine, but questioned the timing of the new search.

"The official bathing started yesterday and this is time when the number of people in Luz increases four-fold. Livelihoods here depend on the three summer months and this disruption is not good for business. I know of at least two hotels which have had cancellations as a direct result of the searches which started this morning.

"But if police are certain over the fruits their searches might bear, locals here will be the first to assist in any searches."

Police sources in Lisbon said the searches were expected to last the entire week. The current search is the result of a letter of international request sent by Scotland Yard to Portuguese police.

The attorney-general's office in Lisbon said last week that the content of the letter was confidential.

Police in Lisbon said the Metropolitan police were interested in searching three sites in the area, but approval had so far only been received for one.

Reports in the local media on Monday said the equipment expected to be used in the search is thought to have been brought over by the Met.

Police in Portugal said: "We have access to all the equipment that could be used in the searches, except for specialised dogs, which would have to come from the UK."

Madeleine vanished from her family's holiday apartment in May 2007, shortly before her fourth birthday.

Madeleine McCann: Police In High-Tech Search, 03 June 2014
 
Madeleine McCann: Police In High-Tech Search Sky News (with 2x videos, as per previous article)

4:35am UK, Tuesday 03 June 2014

Officers will use radar to expose any unusual activity in the terrain near where the child disappeared in Praia da Luz.

Video: Madeleine: Police To Start Digging

 

By Tom Parmenter, Sky News Correspondent, in Praia da Luz

Portugal's dry climate will help experts using ground-penetrating radar in their renewed search for evidence in the Madeleine McCann case.

The new phase of the investigation involves British police working alongside Portuguese colleagues searching scrubland in Praia da Luz.

It is seven years since Madeleine disappeared from her holiday apartment, which is a five-minute walk from the new search area.

The teams spent yesterday securing and surveying the site and will soon bring in ground-penetrating radar equipment.

An area has been sealed off near the Ocean Club where the family stayed

 

An area has been sealed off near the Ocean Club where the family stayed

If any unusual patterns are discovered in the terrain, sniffer dogs will be used.

Radar expert Rom Gostomski, from London based firm 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."

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.

"GPR works best in dry conditions - it doesn't like wet saturated ground because of the high dissolved mineral content," Mr Gostomski explained.

Kate and Gerry McCann have not travelled to Portugal for the search

Kate and Gerry McCann have not travelled to Portugal for the search

"In a dry country like Portugal you'll generally get much, much better data and penetrate much deeper."

There are different types of radar equipment the police could use, but generally the devices allow officers to monitor the ground at least two metres below the surface.

Mr Gostomski added: "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."

Scotland Yard say they will not provide a "running commentary" on the searches.

Madeleine McCann: Police Bring In Sniffer Dogs, 03 June 2014
Madeleine McCann: Police Bring In Sniffer Dogs Sky News

Madeleine McCann: Police Bring In Sniffer Dogs

Madeleine McCann: Police Bring In Sniffer Dogs, 03 June 2014
 
Madeleine McCann: Police Bring In Sniffer Dogs Sky News (with video)

11:32am UK, Tuesday 03 June 2014

Officers and sniffer dogs are scouring scrubland in Praia da Luz close to where the child disappeared in 2007.

Video: Madeleine McCann: Sniffer Dogs Search Scrubland

 

By Tom Parmenter, Sky News Correspondent, in Praia da Luz

British police have brought in sniffer dogs to search areas of scrubland which are being divided up for special attention in relation to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

At least 30 officers arrived early on site in Praia da Luz on Tuesday morning for the second day of their search which is taking place in the resort seven years after Madeleine's disappearance.

They used blue and white police tape to divide the land into sectors for the search.

Two sniffer dogs and their handlers joined police in scouring the large cordoned off area while two Portuguese police horses patrolled the perimeter.

Three police tents set up on the site are thought to be where the teams are storing kit and taking drinks breaks rather than covering any significant parts of the site.

Sniffer dogs took part in the search

 

Sniffer dogs took part in the search

Madeleine disappeared from her holiday apartment which is a five-minute walk from the new search area.

The teams spent Monday securing and surveying the site and will soon bring in ground-penetrating radar equipment to try to spot any unusual patterns in the terrain.

Radar expert Rom Gostomski, from London-based firm 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."

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.

An area has been sealed off near the Ocean Club where the family stayed

 

An area has been sealed off near the Ocean Club where the family stayed

"GPR works best in dry conditions - it doesn't like wet, saturated ground because of the high dissolved mineral content," Mr Gostomski explained.

"In a dry country like Portugal you'll generally get much, much better data and penetrate much deeper."

There are different types of radar equipment the police could use, but generally the devices allow officers to monitor the ground at least two metres below the surface.

Kate and Gerry McCann have not travelled to Portugal for the search

 

Kate and Gerry McCann have not travelled to Portugal for the search

Mr Gostomski added: "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."

Scotland Yard say they will not provide a "running commentary" on the searches.

-----------------------

Screenshots

 
Madeleine McCann: Sniffer Dogs Search Scrubland

 
Madeleine McCann: Sniffer Dogs Search Scrubland

 
Madeleine McCann: Sniffer Dogs Search Scrubland

 
Madeleine McCann: Sniffer Dogs Search Scrubland



Transcript

By Nigel Moore

Dermot Murnaghan: [voice over] Police in Portugal - that's Praia da Luz, as you can see - searching an area of scrubland. You'll remember they started yesterday near the resort where Madeleine McCann disappeared, errr... over seven years ago.

They've, errr... brought sniffer dogs into the scene, we are hearing, and as you can see they are also carrying out, errr... manual searches there. Very clear picture there of the investigation that's going on.

Well, Tom Parmenter is, errr... on the scene for us and, errr... how many, errr... police and others are involved, do you think, Tom?

Tom Parmenter: [voice over] I'd say at least 30, Dermot. There are officers scouring this scrubland and as you are seeing on these live pictures, from Praia da Luz, a small team working in this particular sector of the scrubland.

We are filming this from outside of the police cordon that they have set up, and you have officers here from one of the Welsh forces; two of the dog handlers - the male and the female - and also overseen by the gentleman in the cap, who we think is from the Metropolitan Police Force in London.

They're working with two sniffer dogs who are scouring this area, and they have been for the last 15 minutes or so.

This shows that this is a collaborative effort between police forces in the United Kingdom, coming together, working on this investigation, seven years after Madeleine McCann disappeared from this resort in 2007.

We know, of course, that there has been a great deal of work behind the scenes going on, led by the Metropolitan Police, over the last few months and now they are back out on the ground for a second day here in Praia da Luz.

This area was cordoned off yesterday, they began the process of surveying the site and now we are seeing the search in earnest really, using these police sniffer dogs to go through the area.

I say that some of these officers are from one of the Welsh forces because we've heard them using commands to the dogs in Welsh, rather than English, and they have 'Heddlu' on their uniforms as well.

We've also seen officers from Sussex Police as well, as part of the search today. And, as you can see, very difficult undergrowth that they are working their way through here in Portugal.

And we're told by some of the locals who live in some of the apartments that border this land that it wasn't perhaps properly searched during the time of Madeleine's disappearance. Of course, there were an awful lot of police activities going on at that time; some of it was focussed on this scrubland but, as you can see, seven years on, now the police are going through in depth this area of scrubland - focussing on this side of this very large cordoned off area, which is about a five minute walk from the apartments where the McCann family were staying back in May 2007.

And now, on day two of this search, they're using police dogs to really go through this area with a fine toothcomb to see what they can find. If there is anything here, then these British police are confident that they will find it.

Madeleine McCann search: April Jones police and sniffer dogs helping with dig in Portugal, 03 June 2014
Madeleine McCann search: April Jones police and sniffer dogs helping with dig in Portugal Wales Online

Jun 03, 2014 11:52 | By Alicia Melville-Smith

A dozen British detectives and uniformed police, including two Welsh officers, have descended on the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz, where the youngster disappeared days before her fourth birthday

British police meet local police at an area of scrubland close to where Madeleine McCann went missing seven years ago, in the resort of Praia da Luz, Portugal.

 

British police meet local police at an area of scrubland close to where Madeleine McCann went missing seven years ago, in the resort of Praia da Luz, Portugal.

Welsh police officers and sniffer dogs involved in the search for April Jones are in Portugal helping with the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

Two South Wales Police specialist dog handlers, and victim detection dogs, have been deployed to assist with the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine.

Kate and Gerry McCann face new agony as police began digging near the Algarve holiday complex where their daughter Madeleine disappeared seven years ago

In an unprecedented operation initiated by Scotland Yard, officers were concentrating their search on an overgrown area of scrubland as the McCanns were said to be bracing themselves for "significant news".

A South Wales Police spokeswoman said: "The officers are working as part of a small team of team of British police officers, led by Metropolitan Police Service in conjunction with the Portuguese authorities.

IN PICTURES: Welsh police and sniffer dogs search scrubland in Portugal

 
Welsh police officers and sniffer dogs involved in the search for April Jones are in Portugal helping with the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

 
Welsh police officers and sniffer dogs involved in the search for April Jones are in Portugal helping with the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

 
Welsh police officers and sniffer dogs involved in the search for April Jones are in Portugal helping with the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

 
Welsh police officers and sniffer dogs involved in the search for April Jones are in Portugal helping with the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

 
Welsh police officers and sniffer dogs involved in the search for April Jones are in Portugal helping with the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

 
Welsh police officers and sniffer dogs involved in the search for April Jones are in Portugal helping with the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

 
Welsh police officers and sniffer dogs involved in the search for April Jones are in Portugal helping with the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

 
Welsh police officers and sniffer dogs involved in the search for April Jones are in Portugal helping with the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

 
Welsh police officers and sniffer dogs involved in the search for April Jones are in Portugal helping with the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

 
Welsh police officers and sniffer dogs involved in the search for April Jones are in Portugal helping with the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

 
Welsh police officers and sniffer dogs involved in the search for April Jones are in Portugal helping with the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

 
Welsh police officers and sniffer dogs involved in the search for April Jones are in Portugal helping with the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

 
Welsh police officers and sniffer dogs involved in the search for April Jones are in Portugal helping with the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

 
Welsh police officers and sniffer dogs involved in the search for April Jones are in Portugal helping with the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

 
Welsh police officers and sniffer dogs involved in the search for April Jones are in Portugal helping with the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

 
Welsh police officers and sniffer dogs involved in the search for April Jones are in Portugal helping with the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

 

"The dogs are both seven-year-old English Springer Spaniels, called Tito and Muzzy, and both dogs were deployed during the search for April Jones in 2012."

A dozen British detectives and uniformed police descended on the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz, where the three-year-old vanished in May 2007.

The search team, liaising with Portuguese authorities, spent more than seven hours mapping out the area, just 300 yards from the family apartment where she was last seen.

The Operation Grange team erected three forensic tents in specific spots as part of the most significant development since Madeleine was snatched.

Detectives are expected to start using ground-penetrating radar and begin excavation work for clues that could solve the tragic case.

Madeleine McCann

Madeleine McCann

The McCanns' Portuguese lawyer, Isabel Duarte, said the distraught couple "just want to know exactly what happened to their daughter".

She added: "It is my belief that police have some very good information to be carrying out ground searches.

"I believe there is data in the criminal file which has led to this operation because, if not, police would not be performing this very drastic task.

"Kate and Gerry have not been given any information that Madeleine is dead, and until this happens they have to believe she is still alive."

It was the evening of May 3, 2007 – just nine days before her fourth birthday – when Madeleine went missing from the ground floor apartment while her parents dined in a tapas restaurant with friends.

The Portuguese police case - which was criticised after Kate and Gerry, from Rothely, Leics. were named formal suspects – was shelved the following year.

Operation Grange was set up in 2011 to re-investigate the disappearance after David Cameron ordered Scotland Yard to review all the evidence.

UK police have made numerous trips to Portugal this is the first time they have carried out a search.

Coral Jones, the mother of murdered April, joined forces with Kate McCann to launch a campaign informing the public about missing children last month.

Mark Bridger, 47, was found guilty of five-year-old April's abduction and murder last year.

He snatched the little girl from outside her home on an estate in Machynlleth while she was out playing in October 2012.

Madeleine McCann: Police Bring In Sniffer Dogs, 03 June 2014
 
Madeleine McCann: Police Bring In Sniffer Dogs Sky News (with video, same as previous article)

12:09pm UK, Tuesday 03 June 2014

Sniffer dogs are scouring a site cordoned off for special consideration following Madeleine's 2007 disappearance.

Video: Madeleine McCann: Sniffer Dogs Search Scrubland

 

By Tom Parmenter, Sky News Correspondent, in Praia da Luz

British police sniffer dogs have been deployed to the scrubland search in Praia Da Luz.

Two specially trained victim detection dogs were working with their police handlers as part of the renewed police efforts in the Portuguese resort.

One of the handlers from South Wales Police was heard shouting instructions to the dogs in Welsh.

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

Sky sources understand that a British team of specialist forensic archaeologists are also working on the site.

Police worked with experienced sniffer dogs on the site

 

Police worked with experienced sniffer dogs on the site

At least 30 officers arrived early on Tuesday morning for the second day of their search which is taking place in the resort seven years after Madeleine disappeared from her holiday apartment which is a five-minute walk from the new search area.

They are part of the large team of British police officers led by the Metropolitan Police detective DCI Andy Redwood who are working in conjunction with Portuguese authorities.

Officers used blue and white police tape to divide the land into sectors for the search.

Three police tents set up on the site are thought to be where the teams are storing kit and taking drinks breaks rather than covering any significant parts of the site.

An area has been sealed off near the Ocean Club where the family stayed

 

An area has been sealed off near the Ocean Club where the family stayed

The teams spent Monday securing and surveying the site and will soon bring in ground-penetrating radar equipment to try to spot any unusual patterns in the terrain.

Radar expert Rom Gostomski, from London-based firm 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."

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.

Kate and Gerry McCann have not travelled to Portugal for the search

Kate and Gerry McCann have not travelled to Portugal for the search

"GPR works best in dry conditions - it doesn't like wet, saturated ground because of the high dissolved mineral content," Mr Gostomski explained.

"In a dry country like Portugal you'll generally get much, much better data and penetrate much deeper."

There are different types of radar equipment the police could use, but generally the devices allow officers to monitor the ground at least two metres below the surface.

Mr Gostomski added: "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."

Scotland Yard say they will not provide a "running commentary" on the searches.

Madeleine McCann police dig scrubland near holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, 03 June 2014
 
Madeleine McCann police dig scrubland near holiday apartment in Praia da Luz The Guardian

British police officers focus search on area five-minute walk away from where girl disappeared seven years ago

Josh Halliday and Brendan de Beer in Praia da Luz
Tuesday 3 June 2014 17.11 BST

Scotland Yard detectives work with sniffer dogs at an area in Praia da Luz. Photograph: Reuters

 

Detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have begun digging up small chunks of scrubland a short walk from the apartment where she was last seen seven years ago.

Officers in British police uniform used spades to shovel bits of earth into buckets before it was taken away apparently to be analysed.

The development came in a corner of scrubland where detectives have focused their activity since Tuesday morning, chopping back hedges just metres away from an apartment and private car park.

About a dozen officers were seen in the hilly 15-acre spread of scrubland, which is a five-minute walk from the apartment where the McCanns stayed in Praia da Luz seven years ago.

A small group of detectives clustered around the patch of land at the bottom of the hill, carrying out fingertip searches near shrubbery where they took away bits of land to be analysed.

Police sources have confirmed that the search could be widened to include two new sites before the end of the week, but that the excavations are not expected to last beyond Friday.

Metropolitan police tape off area of scrubland close to where Madeleine McCann disappeared in 2007. Photograph: Philip Toscano/PA

"Searches currently being conducted have been approved by Portuguese authorities to take place until this Friday, and a continuation beyond this timeframe does not currently feature in our plans," the source in Portugal said.

"This decision ultimately rests with Faro PJ [polícia judiciária] director Mota Carmo, but it is unlikely any further searches will be taking place over the weekend or next week," the police source added.

He stressed the timeframe would depend on any discoveries of note made during the course of the week. "Should the search move to the other two areas requested by the Met, they will probably take place concurrently with the operation at the current site."

An extension of searches would require a new request to the Portuguese police to continue guarding the area and assisting their British counterparts at a time when resources in the region are strained due to the arrival of tens of thousands of domestic and foreign tourists in the Algarve for the summer season.

A sniffer dog in a zone signaled by police. Photograph: Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty

Detectives conducting a ground search of an area cordoned off in Praia da Luz arrived at the scene at 9.30am on Tuesday, bringing with them two dogs.

The area is about one mile from the apartment where the girl went missing from the family's holiday apartment in May 2007, shortly before her fourth birthday.

The two dogs immediately began work and walked around small yellow flag-markers placed in one section of the search area.

Portuguese police did not comment on this latest development, though they did tell the Guardian on Monday they had expected their arrival.

"We expect Scotland Yard to bring over at least two dogs, but as we have no dogs in the PJ police, this particular feature of the search will be overseen entirely by British police."

Two South Wales police specialist dog handlers and sniffer dogs have been deployed as part of the search team, the force confirmed.

Madeleine McCann: Digging Begins In Scrubland, 03 June 2014
Madeleine McCann: Digging Begins In Scrubland Sky News

Madeleine McCann: Digging Begins In Scrubland

Madeleine McCann: Digging Begins In Scrubland, 03 June 2014
 
Madeleine McCann: Digging Begins In Scrubland Sky News (with video)

5:55pm UK, Tuesday 03 June 2014

Officers begin a "meticulous" search of scrubland five minutes from the holiday apartment where Madeleine disappeared in 2007.

Video: Madeleine Search: Police Start Dig

 

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 Parmenter described 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.

British police officers sifting through soil in the search area

 

British police officers sifting through soil in the search area

"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.

An area has been sealed off near the Ocean Club where the family stayed

 

The area of scrubland has been sealed off

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.

Kate and Gerry McCann have not travelled to Portugal for the search

 

Kate and Gerry McCann have not travelled to Portugal for the search

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.


Screenshots

 
Madeleine Search: Police Start Dig

 
Madeleine Search: Police Start Dig

 
Madeleine Search: Police Start Dig

 
Madeleine Search: Police Start Dig



Transcript


By Nigel Moore

Tom Parmenter: In the last hour, we have seen British police officers from the Metropolitan Police focussing on this particular scrap of the scrubland that is directly behind me, and if we step out and just show you what they are doing at the moment.

A couple of officers who are from the Metropolitan Police Force - London police officers, working, scouring through the soil that they have been starting to dig in the last hour or so.

And just to the left of them, you can see an area - a small scrap of land with corrugated iron on top of it - with a yellow flag just next to it, which we pointed out a little earlier this afternoon as something they had marked of interest and we have in the last few moments been seeing officers really delicately moving stones and soil from the top of that corrugated iron. There's quite a hole around it - one of the officers was standing in it earlier and it went up to his knees.

And so, that is one area of investigation. Now, of course, this may be utterly unconnected to their search for clues in relation to what happened to Madeleine McCann back in May 2007. But, as you can see, meticulous policing work that is going on here.

We've seen an awful lot of activity on this scrubland today. We saw police dogs earlier, who were trained body-detection dogs that were going over this area that they have mapped over the course of the last 24 hours, and they're now moving into areas of significance or areas they want to look at further. So areas where perhaps the soil is disturbed or for some reason it looks different from the rest of the landscape here. This is very detailed work.

The Metropolitan Police will not tell us exactly why they are searching this area; what leads them to this particular part of Praia da Luz - it's about a 5-minute walk or so away from the apartment complex where Madeleine was staying with her family seven years ago. And now, much to the, errr... unnerving really, of a lot of people here in Praia da Luz, the police are back and they are starting to dig.

Of course, they will not give us what they call 'a running commentary' on what they are doing; what they are finding. No doubt the McCann family will be fully updated as to what, if anything, they find in these searches and I think, in reality, if they became suddenly far more interested in this site then the cordon perhaps may even be pushed back where we are talking to you from behind, and also perhaps tent's erected. So I think, at this stage, this is just very much the scoping exercise that is going on here, on this scrubland, to try and see if there is anything that may help explain what happened to Madeleine.

 

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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