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 Three*

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

The radar equipment is used to search for signs of disturbed earth

 

04 June 2014 - Page being updated

Maddie: April murder dogs sent in, 03/04 June 2014
 
Maddie: April murder dogs sent in Daily Mirror (paper edition)

 
Daily Mirror, 04 June 2014

 

NEW TWIST IN SEARCH

CSI 'super spaniels' which hunted for five-year-old are key to Portugal dig

BY MARTIN FRICKER IN PRAIA DA LUZ
Wednesday, June 4, 2014


DOGS used to search for murdered five-year-old April Jones yesterday joined the hunt for Madeleine McCann in the Algarve.

Two "CSI" sniffer spaniels scoured land close to where she vanished in 2007. Police also started to dig up the area to look for clues.

FULL STORY: PAGES 4&5

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Madeleine McCann search: April Jones' gran tells of heartache Kate and Gerry McCann will be suffering Daily Mirror

Jun 03, 2014 22:30 | By Martin Fricker, Lucy Thornton, Luke Traynor

Linda Smith spoke after officers sent in the same cadaver dogs they used to hunt for the five-year-old, who was killed by cowardly thug Mark Bridger in October 2012

Agony: The same dogs they used to hunt for April are being used to find Madeleine

 

Agony: The same dogs they used to hunt for April are being used to find Madeleine

The gran of murdered schoolgirl April Jones has told of the ­heartache Kate and Gerry McCann will be suffering as police step up the search for their missing daughter.

Linda Smith spoke after officers sent in the same cadaver dogs they used to hunt for the five-year-old, who was killed by cowardly thug Mark Bridger in October 2012.

Spaniels Tito and Muzzy spent the day scouring scrubland close to where Madeleine vanished in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz in 2007.

Police were also seen digging at the site. Linda, 63, said: “I feel for the McCanns. I’m sure they are going through agony.

"In a way, they won’t want Madeleine to be found, but if they do, at least they will have some closure.

“The dogs were out a lot looking for April. They were very useful.

“It was a comfort to see the huge teams looking for our ­granddaughter and the skills at their disposal. I’m sure Maddie’s parents want to know what happened to their little girl.”

April’s body has never been never found since she went missing in ­Machynlleth, Powys, where the family lived.

Bridger, 47, is serving a whole-life life tariff for her abduction, murder and perverting the course of justice.

Kerry Needham, whose son Ben vanished on the island of Kos in 1991, also gave support to Kate, 46, and 45-year-old Gerry.

In October 2012 she had to endure the agony of watching specialist British police dig up farmland where the 21-month-old was last seen.

Maddie Dig - Day 2
 
Scotland Yard detectives and Portuguese police work at an area in Praia da Luz, near Lagos, June 3, 2014.

 
Scotland Yard detectives and Portuguese police work at an area in Praia da Luz, near Lagos, June 3, 2014.

 
Scotland Yard detectives and Portuguese police work at an area in Praia da Luz, near Lagos, June 3, 2014.

 
Scotland Yard detectives and Portuguese police work at an area in Praia da Luz, near Lagos, June 3, 2014.

 
Scotland Yard detectives and Portuguese police work at an area in Praia da Luz, near Lagos, June 3, 2014.

 
Scotland Yard detectives and Portuguese police work at an area in Praia da Luz, near Lagos, June 3, 2014.

 
Scotland Yard detectives and Portuguese police work at an area in Praia da Luz, near Lagos, June 3, 2014.

 
Scotland Yard detectives and Portuguese police work at an area in Praia da Luz, near Lagos, June 3, 2014.

 
Scotland Yard detectives and Portuguese police work at an area in Praia da Luz, near Lagos, June 3, 2014.

 
Scotland Yard detectives and Portuguese police work at an area in Praia da Luz, near Lagos, June 3, 2014.

 
Scotland Yard detectives and Portuguese police work at an area in Praia da Luz, near Lagos, June 3, 2014.

 

 

Kerry, 42, said: "It is the most horrific thought and feeling that any parent can go through, knowing that police are going to be digging up ground and there is a chance your child could be buried there, it's horrendous.

"I was 99% sure they would not find Ben. But there was always that 1% chance they could and that's very hard to cope with.

"There are some similarities between Ben's case and Madeleine's. My thoughts are with her parents."

The dogs and their handlers – regarded as the most highly-skilled team in the UK – were joined by Britain's leading search expert, from Sussex Police, who is helping coordinate the ­unprecedented police operation on Portuguese soil.

Tito and Muzzy both have a powerful sense of smell that helps them locate human remains, blood and fluid a human would be unable to trace.

The dogs, who always work as a pair, have been known to find bodies 20 years after they vanished and can even detect people underwater.

They are taught from the age of 18 months using pig carcasses, which are the closest to humans.

Handler Sally Richards said recently: "They are trained to find anything from tiny specks of blood which are hard for the human eye to see to a full-sized victim, and everything in between."

The dog search came on the second day of the UK police ­operation in Praia da Luz to look for clues as to what happened to Madeleine.

She was three when she disappeared as her parents, of Rothley, Leics, dined out in a nearby tapas bar with friends.

Forensic archaeologists and anthropologists also worked ­alongside the British teams from Operation Grange – set up in 2011 by the Met to re-investigate the case – on the patch of scrubland.

It is 300 yards from the holiday apartment where the McCanns were staying.

Jailed: Mark Bridger

 

Jailed: Mark Bridger

The area is known locally as The Mound and is a hangout for alcoholics and drug users.

Two Met officers used shovels to lift ­corrugated iron covering a hole on the site.

They then removed piles of dirt from the hole and surrounding area, which had earlier been cleared of undergrowth.

Earth was placed in a bucket and carried off.

The Sussex Police expert, who has not been named, was spotted advising Scotland Yard officers as they carried out fingertip searches in undergrowth and on rubbish-strewn barren areas nearby.

Det Chief Insp Andy Redwood, who is overseeing the ­operation, stood watching pensively.

The archaeologists and anthropologists, from the firm Alecto Forensics in Preston, Lancs, took soil samples from a taped off area and mapped the terrain.

According to the company's website, forensic archaeology and anthropology are "essential ­components in an investigation that involves clandestine burials".

Hunt: Dogs search a hilltop area in Praia da Luz

Hunt: Dogs search a hilltop area in Praia da Luz

Its experts have previously helped ­identify victims of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York and the 7/7 London bombings.

Four workers used chainsaws and strimmers to cut back swathes of undergrowth to clear the way for ­the search, which ended at 6pm.

Local police officers on horseback patrolled the site and Portuguese detectives filmed the entire operation.

Sources said last night the hunt could be extended to two more sites in Praia da Luz before the end of the week.

The Scotland Yard team have approval from officials in Lisbon to conduct searches until the end of the week.

The time frame of the operation is unlikely to be extended.

British police have made numerous trips to Portugal but this week is the first time they have actively carried out searches.

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

The UK team is investigating a string of sex attacks by a lone male paedophile on young British girls while they were on holiday in the Algarve.

They are looking at nine assaults and three "near misses" on youngsters aged six to 12 between 2004 and 2006, including one in 2005 on a 10-year-old girl at Praia da Luz.

Hundreds of people have already made contact with officers in response to appeals for help to find the vile pervert.

Maddie cops call in April sniffer dogs, 04 June 2014
 
Maddie cops call in April sniffer dogs The Sun (paper edition, page 19)

 
Maddie cops call in April sniffer dogs - The Sun, 04 June 2014 (paper edition, page 19)

POLICE DIG IN SCRUBLAND

From MATT WILKINSON in Praia da Luz
Wednesday, June 4, 2014


TWO sniffer dogs used in the April Jones murder investigation have been called in to search for Madeleine McCann.

Seven-year-old Springer Spaniels Muzzy and Tito were shipped to the Algarve from Wales, where they looked for tragic five-year-old April in 2012.

The dogs spent several hours yesterday at a spot of scrubland where two Met Police officers later began digging.

The uniformed cops, working with the local Portuguese force, sifted soil next to a sheet of corrugated iron which covered a hole close to where Madeleine, then three, vanished in 2007.

The hole is in the direction a witness said he saw a man carrying a pyjama-wearing child.

Detectives have hired a mechanical digger and pickaxes and are set to carry out more detailed excavations today. They have been joined by experts who helped identify victims of the 9/11 and 7/7 terror attacks in New York and London.

The operation is likely to last to the end of the week. Two other areas in Praia da Luz are thought to be of interest.

The dogs are trained to locate hidden bodies. Such animals have been known to find corpses up to 20 years after burial.

April went missing in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, in October 2011 and despite Britain's biggest ever police search, her body was never found. Killer Mark Bridger was jailed for life.

McCann search lacks commitment and direction, expert claims, 04 June 2014
McCann search lacks commitment and direction, expert claims Sunday World

Maddie McCann search "lacks direction and focus", claims cold case expert.

By Donal MacIntyre
Wednesday 4th June 2014


Officers searching scrubland around the Praia da Luz resort for the body of Maddie McCann, or a clue to her whereabouts, are still shooting in the dark, cold case specialist Alan Bailey told the Sunday World.

The former head of the Irish Cold Case unit claims that the Metropolitan Police search is far to wide and lacking direction and demonstrates a lack of commitment to the case, exclusively claims today. The search by over 30 UK officers started on Monday and is due to end on Friday and is scheduled to include three parcels of land within a mile of the resort where Maddie disappeared has been criticised for a lack direction after the Metropolitan Police Force has come up with a litany of competing theories as to how Maddie disappeared in 2007.

"A four day search on a four acre site including 12 different sites designated for specific ground radar searches, shows a lack of commitment. Either you are going to search the area fully and completely, or you are not. If you can exclude the scrubland and potential burial sites or areas where clothing of evidence may have been discarded within a square kilometer of the apartment where she was last seen, then it becomes a very different type of crime", Bailey, an eminent cold case investigator, told the Sunday World.

The ground radar machinery which has been used by the Sunday World cold case team can only search small areas to a depth that makes sense on this landscape which is about four metres deep. It is unlikely that a body or any evidence would be buried any deeper. It also requires a great deal of time to crunch the numbers as they try isolate relevant anomalies under the ground which may indicate where something is hidden or indeed was hidden.

There is some dispute on the range of the ground being searched but it is nonetheless a rather widespread search ground but with only 12 small sites being targeted for underground radar it is hard to exclude the area - a mound - a short walk from a man was seen carrying a child around ten pm on the night she disappeared.

One reporter on the ground said that it took him five minutes to run around the search site.

It seems unlikely this limited search overt a wide area will even succeed in excluding the site as a potential burial site.

Any ground disturbance indicating a burial site would have been much more visible in the days after Maddie disappeared when there was an extensive search of the mound site.

The specialist says that if she was abducted by a fixated preferential paedophile in an opportunist way, then local scrubland would be a place to abuse and get rid of evidence but this was extensively searched and crisscrossed seven years ago.

"Most of these kind of abductions are really wrong place, wrong time, and so, an opportunist predator could have spotted Maddie leaving her apartment searching for her mother, and snatched her immediately. These offenders don't need much planning because they are always looking for an configuration of events to make their escape and snatch", he said.

"An offender needs the child to present themselves, be lost and alone, for example. The environment must be suitable with a lack of CCTV cameras, and a lack of witnesses or potential witness is the third requirement of the opportunist snatch. If  a full search of these sites were conducted then we could exclude this and concentrate on the more planned kidnap and snatch by a gang of paedophiles which is always the more unlikely scenario", he said.

The investigator says that the Gardai would not have opened up the possibility of a breakthrough on the basis of such a wide search over such a short time. "We would have simply had an open ended search and not finished until we were confident that all the work was done and it cannot be done in four days after a gap of nearly seven years", Bailey said.

The experience of the Gardai and the PSNI in the search for the disappeared from the troubles, has given these forces an expertise in searching for missing bodies and lost evidence.

"We know from the disappeared that even when there are tip offs about the locations from those who actually, perpetrated the crimes then it is still very hard to find the bodies so this seems a very unrealistic and overly ambitious search by the Metropolitan Police", he said.

Despite indications of a breakthrough in the case, it is quite clear that the use of spades, pitch forks and some ground penetrating radar across three sites, one of which is over 15 acres of which four acres has been sealed off.

It appears that the Police are looking for a needle in a haystack and are no further in tracking down any predator or finding our what has happened to Maddie.

One source close to the new investigators spoke of the concern among the team that the Met has made very little breakthrough despite the investment of more than 30 full time officers and nearly €10m in the investigation, Operation Grange, which was kick started in 2011 after the intervention of the British Prime Minister.

Police sources say that search locations have been pinpointed by geographic crime profilers.

The sites were  based on the distance that a child could have walked from apartment 5a where she disappeared from, or the distance where she could have been carried by a predator, and then perhaps abused or killed.

The investigators will be looking for either a piece of clothing or a body.

This line of enquiry suggests that the new investigators are unhappy with the quality of the original search but also that the new investigators, along with the original Portuguese Police team, believe that Maddie is no longer alive.

The McCann's have long ignored this possibility understandably, but statistically; victims of child abductions are likely to be killed within days of kidnap.

"Victims of child abductions statistically are unlikely to survive the first 48 hours and the younger they are the more likely they are to be killed earlier. Those rare cases where abductees survive to be sex slaves are typically much, much older", Professor David Wilson told the Sunday World.

Madeleine McCann: Scrubland Dig Resumes, 04 June 2014
 
Madeleine McCann: Scrubland Dig Resumes Sky News

9:36am UK, Wednesday 04 June 2014

Police continue their search of an area of land close to where Madeleine went missing seven years ago.

The search in Portugal could last for up to a week

 

Police have resumed their search of scrubland in Portugal close to where Madeleine McCann went missing seven years ago.

It comes after officers began digging and brought sniffer dogs into the area in Praia Da Luz, which is a five-minute walk from the apartment where the then three-year-old disappeared.

It is understood they have been given permission to search two other sites.

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

 

A map of the search area

Teams have been mapping the area over the last 24 hours and Portuguese workmen had been clearing some of the undergrowth ahead of the search operation.

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.

Police officers start dig in the search for Madeleine McCann

 

Police officers start dig in the search for Madeleine McCann

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.

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

Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of missing Madeleine

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

Scotland Yard has said it will not provide a "running commentary" on the search operation.

Madeleine McCann search enters third day on Praia da Luz scrubland, 04 June 2014
 
Madeleine McCann search enters third day on Praia da Luz scrubland The Guardian

Scotland Yard detectives return to site where digging began for first time on Tuesday

Josh Halliday and Brendan de Beer in Praia da Luz
Wednesday 4 June 2014 10.27 BST

DCI Andy Redwood, right, with a Portuguese police officer at the site of the search. Photograph: Filipe Farinha/Getty Images

Detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have begun a third day of searches in scrubland a short walk from the holiday apartment where she was last seen seven years ago.

A team of Scotland Yard detectives arrived at the 15-acre site in Praia da Luz before 10am on Wednesday, with some officers returning to a small patch of land where they focused their searches on Tuesday.

DCI Andy Redwood, the investigator leading the operation, visited this small area on Wednesday morning, inspecting the patch of land from different viewing points as he was briefed by a uniformed detective.

Ten Portuguese police officers are on 24-hour guard at the perimeter of the site, including some on horseback and others with police dogs.

Officers started digging up scrubland for the first time in Praia da Luz on Tuesday as they prepared to expand significantly the search operation in the resort where she went missing in 2007.

Officers armed with shovels, strimmers and two sniffer dogs scoured a small patch of land where the searches focused, with some investigators digging up patches of earth 300 metres from the apartment block where the three-year-old girl was last seen.

On Wednesday two officers in British police uniform returned to that same site at the foot of the hill, where they have placed red tape around a small patch of shrubs growing next to a scrap of corrugated iron.

A Metropolitan police officer looked on as a worker used a petrol strimmer to chop back shrubbery next to where they dug on Tuesday afternoon, suggesting the small patch of land remains a key area of interest for investigators.

Nearby, two Met officers used shovels to dig up bits of earth before taking soil samples away in buckets to be examined.

As the ground-level searches ramped up, police sources told the Guardian that the operation was likely to be widened this week. The attorney general's office in Lisbon was on Tuesday considering a Scotland Yard request to carry out searches in two other areas.

However, it is understood that the searches will be wound down on Friday if officers fail to make a significant discovery.

Wednesday is the third day of the renewed search effort, launched seven years after Madeleine disappeared while her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, dined with friends at a nearby tapas restaurant.

Redwood, the investigator leading the operation, looked on from a hilltop as uniformed officers got on their hands and knees to carry out painstaking fingertip searches in the scrubland, which has been cordoned off under a 24-hour police guard since Monday.

Madeleine's parents, from Rothley in Leicestershire, are being kept abreast of any important developments as the search continues this week.

Journalist: Search 'unlikely' to find Madeleine McCann, 04 June 2014
Journalist: Search 'unlikely' to find Madeleine McCann Irish Independent (with video)

 

04 June 2014

It is "extremely unlikely" that detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann will find anything this week, the publisher of a local newspaper has said. Paul Luckman said searches on scrubland in Praia da Luz, close to where the youngster was last seen, had come as a "surprise" and had not left residents happy as the world's media descends on the small Algarve resort once again. Mr Luckman, who publishes The Portugal News, said two other sites have also been approved for officers to potentially dig up, including one on wasteland close to the holiday apartment where the McCann family were staying in May 2007.

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Screenshots

 
Leanne Rinne

 
Police searches on scrubland in Praia da Luz

 
Police searches on scrubland in Praia da Luz

 
Police searches on scrubland in Praia da Luz

 
Paul Luckman: Publisher, The Portugal News

 
Ornate iron railings protect the shutter to Apartment 5A

------------
Transcript

By Nigel Moore

Leanne Rinne: The Madeleine McCann investigation here in Praia da Luz, in Portugal, has been really stepping up. British and Portuguese authorities have been working hard to scour this area of land behind me. They're all searching for clues as to what could have happened to Madeleine, seven years ago, on that tragic day.

The sound of strimmers has been echoing through the scrubland as forestry workers try to cut back the unruly undergrowth to search for evidence.

Sniffer dogs have also been hard at work. Two specialist dog handlers and victim-detection dogs have come all the way from South Wales to help with the investigation.

But despite the police efforts, and the resources, some locals are not convinced that these fresh searches will turn up anything new. They also fear the latest development in this investigation, and the media attention it brings with it, is spreading animosity in the area.

Paul Luckman: [Publisher, The Portugal News] People don't welcome it. People are really fed up with the whole thing now and that's not to say they don't want the child to be found, they don't want closure on the case - of course they do, for the parents, for everybody. I doubt we're going to see it but then we can all be surprised. Perhaps they know something that... they should know something we don't know. Errm... Perhaps they do and perhaps a body will be found. There's going to be a lot of explaining to be done. I just don't see it, you know, the period of time - seven years - is a long, long time.

Leanne Rinne: Madeleine was just three-years-old when she disappeared from this typical holiday apartment at the Ocean Club resort. Police could potentially search two more separate areas nearby before anything is called off. For the McCanns there are still no answers. The family can only sit tight over the next few days and wait for any news, good or bad.

Shutter to bedroom of Apartment 5A now protected by ornate iron railings, 04 June 2014

Apartment 5A

Apartment 5A

Madeleine McCann: Radar Used In Ground Search, 04 June 2014
 
Madeleine McCann: Radar Used In Ground Search Sky News

12:50pm UK, Wednesday 04 June 2014

Police are using radar equipment to look several meters below ground in an area of land close to where Madeleine went missing.

The search in Portugal could last for up to a week

 

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

Ground penetrating radar equipment has been deployed by officers working on scrubland in Praia Da Luz searching for Madeleine McCann.

The scanners can be used to examine the sub surface of the ground several metres down.

Experts will then look for any anomalies in the ground that may signify that the earth has been disturbed.

Former Metropolitan Police search advisor Keith Farquharson told Sky News: "It will show anomalies within the earth structure it won't show a skeleton - like an X-ray would.

"It would just show the anomaly in the ground - so that would have to be investigated and the best way to do that initially is victim recovery dogs and the methods they use."

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

 

A map of the search area

Various teams including body detection dogs are again working in different parts of the scrubland on their third day of the search in the Portuguese resort of Praia Da Luz.

The police have not revealed what intelligence they have that leads them to the scrubland, which is a five minute walk from the Algarve holiday complex where the three-year-old had been staying with her family.

Earlier the detective leading the British review into Madeleine's disappearance, DCI Andy Redwood, examined a hole that had been covered with corrugated iron for years.

Police officers start dig in the search for Madeleine McCann

 

Police officers have begun digging segments of the land

Yesterday his officers began the delicate task of digging out the area around it for further examination but there is nothing yet to suggest that it is significant to the investigation.

Forensic archaeologists from a British firm continue to work on sectioned off areas of the site trying to establish if anything may be buried here.

Portuguese newspapers have reported that animal bones have already been found in the search but Sky News cannot independently verify the claims.

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

 

Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of missing Madeleine

Madeleine disappeared from her family's apartment in the Ocean Club resort in May 2007.

She had been enjoying a family holiday with her parents Kate and Gerry and younger siblings.

The renewed searches are a joint effort between the British and Portuguese police following the Metropolitan Police force's review of the case.

It is understood they have been given permission to search two other sites in and around the town.

The Metropolitan Police have repeatedly said that they are unable to give out any information about the new searches.

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Updated with video:

Madeleine McCann: Radar Used In Ground Search Sky News

1:25pm UK, Wednesday 04 June 2014

Police are using radar equipment to look several metres below ground in an area of land close to where Madeleine went missing.

Video: Sky News' Tom Parmenter is in Portugal following the search for Madeleine

[Text of article as previously]

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

Screenshots

 
Sky News' Tom Parmenter reports from Praia da Luz as the police continue their searches

 
Sky News' Tom Parmenter reports from Praia da Luz as the police continue their searches

 
Sky News' Tom Parmenter reports from Praia da Luz as the police continue their searches

 
Sky News' Tom Parmenter reports from Praia da Luz as the police continue their searches


-----------------------
Transcript


By Nigel Moore

Tom Parmenter: We've seen this morning ground-penetrating radar equipment for the very first time on this site; that can look underground without the officers having to dig; that can look for anomalies within the surface that may warrant further investigation. That has not happened on this site, so far - as we know.

You can see that a white police tent has been put up in the last few moments or so. That was over an area of land - a corrugated iron cover that was over a hole within this scrubland - and now the officers are working within this tent to try to understand if there is anything down that hole that may help them explain what happened to Madeleine McCann here, seven years ago.

Of course, that is quite detailed forensic police work and they've put the tent around it to, of course, ensure that they can work in private and also ensure that they can do so in some shade because it is another warm day here on the Algarve.

Of course, making sure that the people conducting this search are looked after and are ready to conduct this search in a professional and thorough manner, of course, is of the utmost importance.

All over this site that you can see, if you look further up the hill, you can see one of the Portuguese officers on horseback patrolling, ensuring that the cordon, errr... remains in place, and beyond that officers - British officers - working on different parts of the scrubland that they have marked out.

You can see perhaps some of the equipment next to that Portuguese officer, errr... has been used to map out some of this land. A very slow process in relation to making sure that they cover every inch. If there is something here connected to the case they are determined to try and find it.

Madeleine police 'taken by surprise' by discovery, 04 June 2014
Madeleine police 'taken by surprise' by discovery ITV News

By Martin Geissler, ITV News Correspondent
1:55pm, Wed 4 Jun 2014

There have been a couple of developments here that have taken us and have perhaps taken the police teams by surprise.

At the very edge of the wasteland where officers are searching are a couple of white tents.

Under them is a hole. They found it yesterday, it was covered by a couple of sheets of corrugated iron and then that was covered by some soil.

 
Police erect white tents over a hole they found during the search for Madeleine McCann. Credit: ITV News/Gareth Owen

 

Police erect white tents over a hole they found during the search for Madeleine McCann. Credit: ITV News/Gareth Owen

They dug away and they pulled these sheets apart yesterday and they found this very precise hole in the shape of a square - now, that's of interest to them, they didn't know it was there.

We've seen a couple of police officers in forensic suits inside those tents, we don't know what they've found, we don't know if it is of specific interest but we do know it's something they didn't anticipate when they got here

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

Forensic officers examine hole at McCann search site ITV News

2:48pm, Wed 4 Jun 2014

Forensic police officers were pictured preparing to examine a hole in an area of wasteland to search for Madeleine McCann in Praia da Luz, Portugal, where she went missing in 2007.

 
Forensic police officers preparing to examine a hole in Praia da Luz in Portugal. Credit: PA

Forensic police officers preparing to examine a hole in Praia da Luz in Portugal. Credit: PA

Madeleine McCann: Police Tents Erected, 04 June 2014
 
Madeleine McCann: Police Tents Erected Sky News (with video)

4:39pm UK, Wednesday 04 June 2014

Forensic officers are examining areas of interest under the cover of police tents in connection with Madeleine’s disappearance.

The search in Portugal could last for up to a week

 

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

Police officers in Praia da Luz have erected tents over several locations they have deemed significant as they use radar equipment and sniffer dogs to search scrubland close to where Madeleine McCann went missing.

Two forensic officers were seen entering the tents to examine what was hidden below.

One of the tents is covering a hole concealed by corrugated iron which was exposed on Tuesday after trees and shrubs were cut down.

Earlier, the detective leading the British review into Madeleine's disappearance, DCI Andy Redwood, examined the area which it is thought had been covered by the iron for a number of years.

Police also began using ground-penetrating radar equipment for the first time as they scoured the scrubland for a third day.

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

 

A map of the search area

The scanners can be used to examine the sub-surface of the ground several metres down.

Experts will then look for any anomalies in the ground that may signify the earth has been disturbed.

Former Metropolitan Police search advisor Keith Farquharson told Sky News: "It will show anomalies within the earth structure (but) it won't show a skeleton like an X-ray would.

Police officers start dig in the search for Madeleine McCann

 

Police have examined the corrugated iron that was concealing a hole

"It would just show the anomaly in the ground. That would have to be investigated and the best way to do that initially is (with) victim recovery dogs."

Police have not revealed what intelligence they have that leads them to the scrubland, which is a five-minute walk from the Algarve holiday complex where three-year-old Madeleine had been staying with her family.

The youngster disappeared from her family's apartment in the Ocean Club resort in May 2007.

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

 

Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of missing Madeleine

She had been enjoying a holiday with her parents Kate and Gerry and younger siblings.

The renewed searches are a joint effort between the British and Portuguese police following a Metropolitan Police review of the case.

It is understood officers have been given permission to search two other sites in and around the town.

The Metropolitan Police has repeatedly said it is unable to give out any information about the new searches.

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

Screenshots

 
Forensic officers are examining areas of interest under the cover of police tents in connection with Madeleine's disappearance

 
Forensic officers are examining areas of interest under the cover of police tents in connection with Madeleine's disappearance

 
Forensic officers are examining areas of interest under the cover of police tents in connection with Madeleine's disappearance

 
Forensic officers are examining areas of interest under the cover of police tents in connection with Madeleine's disappearance

Transcript

By Nigel Moore

Anna Jones: Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have put up a tent on the scrubland that they're searching in Praia da Luz.

It's the third day of their new investigation using radar, sniffer dogs and digging equipment to look for clues about what happened to her after she vanished while on holiday, seven years ago.

Well, let's cross there live now. Sky's Michelle Clifford is there for us. So, Michelle, get us up to date with the very latest on what's been happening there.

Michelle Clifford: Well, it's been a really, errr... busy day of activity. The police started out here very early this morning with sniffer dogs and there've been a number of developments throughout the day, including, errm... tents going up - this one, errr... the latest [points at tent immediately behind].

Now, this area, until a few minutes ago - hopefully you'll be able to see some pictures we recorded - this area, errr... police officers were using ground-penetrating, errr... radar here and that's a significant piece of equipment. It allows them to look beneath the surface of the soil. That, errr... equipment can penetrate a really long way down - several metres, errr... if necessary - and it really works on this kind of terrain because this is very dry terrain. The soil is dry because of the temperatures here and... and by virtue of that the radar can go a very, very long way down. So, it's going to be an incredibly useful tool and the police are able to actually go over the land pretty, errr... quickly in relation to that.

Now, we've got officers in there now with strimmers and with chainsaws hacking away further at the scrubland, and just a little bit further over, errr... behind me, we've also got two more tents that have gone up. Now, those tents are covering an area that was actually exposed yesterday. Errm... The police, errr... cleared a large area, they found a bit of land that had some, errr... corrugated iron on, which seemed to be over some kind of shaft or hole. Now, last night, that area was left exposed, but this morning the lead investigating officer from the Met, DCI Andy Redwood, came down and, errr... the tents were then brought in to cover the area and a few hours ago we saw forensic officers going into that tent. They didn't stay there very long; came out pretty swiftly, and took their, errr... gear off. But they were here earlier and that area still remains covered.

But the focus, at the moment, is on this area where the radar equipment was being used. And over on the hill, out of vision here, an area known as 'The Mound' we've seen this afternoon - in the last hour - a line of police officers using long sticks to actually probe into the earth. So, it's been a really, really busy day, errr... of activity. Of course, we don't know whether any of these developments will turn out to be significant.

Anna Jones: Michelle, thank you.

Madeleine McCann: search by police to continue into weekend, 04 June 2014
 
Madeleine McCann: search by police to continue into weekend The Guardian

Further clearance of dense scrub in Praia da Luz, Portugal, as hunt proceeds for missing British child

Josh Halliday and Brendan de Beer in Praia da Luz
Wednesday 4 June 2014 19.22 BST

Police tents erected at the search site in Praia da Luz. Photograph: Rafael Marchante/Reuters

Detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are likely to continue the search operation into the weekend using forensic experts and ground-penetrating radar.

The operation was initially expected to end on Friday but progress has been slow in the meticulous search of dense scrubland a short distance from where the then three-year-old girl was last seen in 2007.

In the past 48 hours, officers have focused their searches on two key areas, but the painstaking investigative work is being delayed by a need to clear the sites using petrol strimmers and chainsaws.

DCI Andy Redwood, the Scotland Yard officer leading the investigation, and Faro's Polícia Judiciária director, Mota Carmo, inspected one of the key sites, where forensic officers were seen wearing face masks and blue bodysuits.

The work of the forensic experts was shielded by a white police tent, erected over a void in the ground where officers had focused their digging 24 hours earlier, but they were seen removing soil with wheelbarrows.

In a separate area of interest about 30 metres away, officers put up two further white police tents over a patch of land where they had earlier used ground-penetrating radar, which allows investigators to detect any disturbance below ground.

Madeleine's parents, Kate, 46, and Gerry, 45, are being kept abreast of any significant developments in the first ground-level search since those conducted immediately after her disappearance in May 2007.

Portuguese media reported that officers had asked to search the sewerage system in Praia da Luz using fibre-optic cables, but the village mayor, Victor Mata, told the Guardian he had not been made aware of such a development, which would take the search outside the current 15-acre site.

Madeleine McCann police focus search on patch of land, 04 June 2014
 
Madeleine McCann police focus search on patch of land BBC News (with 2x videos)

4 June 2014 Last updated at 21:11

 
The BBC's Tom Burridge says police have erected tents over a hole

The BBC's Tom Burridge says police have erected tents over a hole

Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have focused their efforts on a patch of land on the third day of a fresh search in Praia da Luz.

Officers also began using ground-penetrating radar equipment, which looks for signs of disturbed earth.

Met Police said requests to search two other sites had been granted, and has also asked to extend the current search of scrubland by an extra seven days.

Madeleine was three when she went missing in Portugal in 2007.

British and Portuguese officers have continued a search of 15 acres of cordoned-off scrubland at the Algarve resort. All search efforts on Wednesday have now finished.

The day's main search activity took place within two white tents which were erected on the scrubland, and forensic officers wearing blue overalls and face masks were seen walking in and out of them.

The BBC understands that the tents were put up over a hole in the ground - possibly a disused well - and officers were seen filling buckets with earth, which were then placed into a wheelbarrow. No radar equipment was used near these tents.

Earlier in the day, officers in Metropolitan Police uniforms were driven to a separate part of the cordoned-off area, where they were joined by Portuguese police and local forestry workers with strimmers.

 
The radar equipment is used to search for signs of disturbed earth

The radar equipment is used to search for signs of disturbed earth

 
The two white tents were put up on the scrubland in Praia da Luz on Wednesday

The two white tents were put up on the scrubland in Praia da Luz on Wednesday

 
Ground penetrating radar (GPR)

 
The tents are believed to have been set up over a hole in the ground and forensic officers have been at the scene

The tents are believed to have been set up over a hole in the ground and forensic officers have been at the scene

A man in plain clothes wheeled the radar equipment onto a section of ground that had earlier been cleared.

Officers from the Met and South Wales Police were also working with sniffer dogs and using spades to help sift through the undergrowth.

They were being overseen by the Met's Det Ch Insp Andy Redwood, the senior officer investigating the case.

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

At the scene

 
Forensic officers have been seen filling buckets with earth

Forensic officers have been seen filling buckets with earth

By Lauren Turner

The painstaking search of a site in the resort of Praia da Luz has been continuing, with a forensics officer joining the police team on Wednesday.

Work seems to have been concentrated in one particular area, with police going back and forth to a section of land at the perimeter of the site. Two tents have been erected here - it is unclear if that is to prevent the media from seeing what is being done or to provide shade.

While the police can't be seen from the beach, which is packed with holidaymakers enjoying the Algarve sun, everyone here seems all too aware of the investigation.

Christina, a 35-year-old from Bournemouth on holiday with family and friends, said: "We walked down here last night and it was quite scary seeing so many police around.

"The atmosphere here feels a bit flat because of what's happening. When you're on holiday you don't want to see police around but it's completely understandable."

Her friend Suzi, 34, said: "It's a bit of a shame because it's a lovely place and this does seem to have had an effect on the economy and on the people here.

"But if that was your child, you would want everything possible to be done."

Several people the BBC spoke to had not known, before arriving at the resort, that it was the place where Madeleine McCann was last seen.

Josie, 29, from Exeter, on holiday with her partner and one-year-old son, said: "It brings it home to you, being here - it makes it feel more real.

"We didn't realise when we booked that this was the place. It wasn't until I saw my dad I knew because he told me. I don't know if we would have come here otherwise.

"But police have to do what they have to do. We all want the best for the family."

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

 
Officers have encountered difficult terrain in the search area

Officers have encountered difficult terrain in the search area

 
Chris Leech, of Geomatrix, explains how ground radar could help the police search

Chris Leech, of Geomatrix, explains how ground radar could help the police search

Portuguese police sources told the BBC the search might be extended if there was a significant find. Officers are believed to have been surprised by the difficulty of the terrain, while the police also need to consider the disruption to local residents.

On Wednesday morning, the national Portuguese newspaper, Correio da Manha, reported that there would be a search of the sewage network around the Ocean Club, where the McCann family was staying when Madeleine disappeared.

 
Scrubland search area, Praia da Luz

Officers were expected to use cameras linked to fibre-optic cables, the paper said. It also reported that the bones of cows and pigs had been unearthed by the search on Tuesday.

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said there would be no running commentary on the operation.

Two sniffer dogs have been provided by South Wales Police for the search.

The Met launched a fresh investigation into Madeleine's disappearance last July, codenamed Operation Grange.

In March, they said they were seeking an intruder who sexually abused five girls in Portugal between 2004 and 2006.

Detectives said the attacks had happened in holiday villas occupied by UK families in the Algarve.

And last month Scotland Yard said a "substantial phase of operational activity" in Portugal would start soon.

 
Madeleine McCann went missing in Praia da Luz in 2007

 

Madeleine McCann went missing in Praia da Luz in 2007

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

Screenshots - video 1

 
Madeleine McCann police focus search on patch of land

 
Madeleine McCann police focus search on patch of land

 
Madeleine McCann police focus search on patch of land

 
Madeleine McCann police focus search on patch of land

 
Madeleine McCann police focus search on patch of land

 
Madeleine McCann police focus search on patch of land

 

Transcript

By Nigel Moore

Tom Burridge: Errr... Gavin, quite a lot of activity, particularly on this area of ground, errr... behind me. You can probably just see the white tents and we'll just show you some pictures we filmed within the last hour or so.

So, police officers, errr... Metropolitan Police officers, in forensic suits, are going into that tent, working in that area. Errr... We've seen them more recently coming out of the tent, errr... with buckets of soil and we've also seen them taking yellow evidence signs inside the tent. Unclear, obviously, what, if anything, they have found inside there. We understand those tents are placed over what was a hole.

Gavin Esler: Errr... Tom, what are they... is anybody saying anything whatsoever about this? Because the police were very careful to warn people not to speculate, and when they see particular kinds of activity - like the tents, for example, that you mentioned - not to speculate as to what that might mean.

Tom Burridge: We're not getting much information at all. We are getting some information from the Portuguese police; for example they've told us that actually due to the complexity of the ground here that they're working on, and because of the sensitivities regarding the local people living in this Portuguese town, on the Algarve, Praia da Luz, errr... they are going to extend, potentially, the work on this site and two other sites - which we've now been confirmed by the Portuguese police - that the Metropolitan Police have permission to search two... also, two other sites in this town. So, those are the two new pieces of information today coming from the Portuguese police but I have to say the rest of the information is from what we see - we see a lot of activity from the police.

Errr... We can show you some other pictures, errr... of the police using ground-penetrating radar. So this is a machine that the police pass over the soil. Essentially once they've identified an area of this 15-acre site - so it's a significant area that they're actually searching here - they'll then potentially pinpoint areas that they'd like to use this machine on, and the machine can basically map underneath the ground. It can use radar to look for cavities or anomalies, so if something had of been buried in a particular point it would show up on this machine, and then there's obviously the possibility that the police could start digging in that particular spot.

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

Screenshots - video 2

 
Chris Leech, of Geomatrix, explains how ground radar could help the police search

 
Chris Leech, of Geomatrix, explains how ground radar could help the police search

 
Chris Leech, of Geomatrix, explains how ground radar could help the police search

 
Chris Leech, of Geomatrix, explains how ground radar could help the police search

Transcript - video 2

By Nigel Moore

Chris Leech: Well, what the investigating officers will be looking for will, errm... where the ground has been disturbed, and ground radar is very good at locating, errr... if a trench has been cut into the ground - or a grave, for example - you can quite often see the, errm... the fact that the ground has been disturbed; that it's been cut and disturbed, even if you can't actually see anything in the bottom of it and that can be very diagnostic.

You see a series of reflections on the screen here. Errr... The ground is at the top of the screen and down below the ground we see, errm... images on the screen here, which the scene of crime officers will be looking at and using their knowledge to interpret where the natural ground has been disturbed in some way. And this can be quite distinctive in this sort of, errr... technology.

It can be very useful indeed. You can cover a large area of ground far more rapidly with a ground-radar than you could by, errr... digging it up. An area of ground, like you say, a hundred metres square, you could cover in a day with an instrument like this, whereas it would take you many, many days, or weeks even, to excavate it all by hand.

With a ground-radar you're doing it non-invasively, so you're actually preserving evidence, which is very important in any scientific or criminal investigation.

Madeleine McCann Police Want To Extend Search, 04 June 2014
 
Madeleine McCann Police Want To Extend Search Sky News (with video)

9:43pm UK, Wednesday 04 June 2014

Forensic officers are examining areas of interest under the cover of police tents in connection with Madeleine’s disappearance.

Video: Madeleine McCann Police Use Radar Equipment

 

By Tom Parmenter, Sky News Correspondent

British police searching for Madeleine McCann have asked Portuguese authorities for another week to search scrubland.

Officers had originally been given until Friday, but it is thought they will get the go-ahead to continue.

Portuguese police also confirmed on Wednesday night that they had searched some drains close to the Ocean Club complex where the McCanns were staying in 2007.

Officers also made use of ground-penetrating radar for the first time as the search entered its third day.

Sniffer dogs scoured the waste ground and police erected tents over several locations they have deemed significant. Two forensic officers were seen entering the tents to examine what was hidden below.

Video: Madeleine McCann Police Use Radar Equipment

 

Detectives are using radar to see if the earth has been disturbed

One of the tents is covering a hole concealed by corrugated iron which was exposed on Tuesday after trees and shrubs were cut down.

Earlier, the detective leading the investigation, DCI Andy Redwood, examined the area which it is thought had been covered by the iron for a number of years.

The radar scanners being used can examine the sub-surface of the ground several metres down.

Experts will then look for any anomalies in the ground that may signify the earth has been disturbed.

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

 

Former Metropolitan Police search advisor Keith Farquharson told Sky News: "It will show anomalies within the earth structure (but) it won't show a skeleton like an X-ray would.

"It would just show the anomaly in the ground. That would have to be investigated and the best way to do that initially is (with) victim recovery dogs."

Police have not revealed what intelligence they have that leads them to the scrubland, which is a five-minute walk from the Algarve holiday complex where three-year-old Madeleine had been staying with her family.

The youngster disappeared from her family's apartment in the Ocean Club resort in May 2007.

Police officers start dig in the search for Madeleine McCann

 

Police have examined the corrugated iron that was concealing a hole

She had been enjoying a holiday with her parents Kate and Gerry and younger siblings.

The renewed searches are a joint effort between the British and Portuguese police following a Metropolitan Police review of the case.

It is understood officers have been given permission to search two other sites in and around the town.

The Metropolitan Police has repeatedly said it is unable to give out any information about the new searches.

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

Screenshots

 
Forensic officers are examining areas of interest under the cover of police tents in connection with Madeleine's disappearance

 
Forensic officers are examining areas of interest under the cover of police tents in connection with Madeleine's disappearance

 
Forensic officers are examining areas of interest under the cover of police tents in connection with Madeleine's disappearance

 
Forensic officers are examining areas of interest under the cover of police tents in connection with Madeleine's disappearance

 
Forensic officers are examining areas of interest under the cover of police tents in connection with Madeleine's disappearance

 
Forensic officers are examining areas of interest under the cover of police tents in connection with Madeleine's disappearance


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

Transcript


By Nigel Moore

Tom Parmenter: [voice over] The man charged with finding Madeleine McCann - DCI Andy Redwood - inspected the hole himself.

It's been covered with corrugated iron for years and is now the first location to be subjected to forensic examination.

It is the next level but there's nothing yet to suggest that it will explain this seven year mystery.

Across the rest of this scrubland, this multi-disciplined search carry's on.

They're also now looking deep below the surface with radar equipment that can scan two or three metres down.

It's the kind of kit that's used in police searches in Britain but it works far better in drier climates.

Rom Gostomski: [Radar Expert] The difference will be really, really substantial, I believe, errr... because the moisture is the one thing that does... it's the dissolved mineral content which does affect the, errr... the... the date... the data... the depth penetration. Whereas if you've got dry conditions you will get a better, clearer signal, much, much deeper.

Tom Parmenter: [voice over] It won't tell them what may be buried here but it will highlight if anything is down there.

[to camera] It takes around 15 minutes to walk around the entire search area and you can see the kind of undergrowth they're going to have to be dealing with.

The fact that there are buildings to be searched.

And each area of interest is marked by a small yellow flag; two of them just through here.

[voice over] The motive for them being here is obvious. Why they have chosen this site is not.

They will follow the evidence. It's what the police do.

But everyone watching them is wondering if there is anything here to find.

Tom Parmenter, Sky News, Praia da Luz.

 

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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