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 - Days 4/5*

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NEWS REPORTS INDEX MCCANN PJ FILES NEWS MAY 2007
 

 

05/06 June 2014 - page being updated

Maddie cops search hole found by dogs, 05 June 2014
 
Maddie cops search hole found by dogs The Sun (paper edition, page 17)

 
Maddie cops search hole found by dogs - The Sun, 05 June 2014 (paper edition, page 17)


 

McCANNS' AGONISING WAIT

From MATT WILKINSON in Praia da Luz
Thursday, June 5, 2014


FORENSIC teams yesterday examined a pit found by sniffer dogs 300 yards from where Madeleine McCann disappeared seven years ago.

They put up tents over the 5ft hole which appeared to be a den with a corrugated tin roof.

Officers were seen removing bags of evidence as parents Kate, 46, and Gerry McCann, 45, faced an agonising wait for news.

Teams led by British cops found a sewer network under the pit and were using fibre-optic cameras to search pipes. They also scoured nearby scrubland which is littered with animal bones.

Scotland Yard last night applied for seven more days to search the area. Madeleine, right, was just three when she vanished from the Ocean Club resort.

Sniffer Dogs Resume Madeleine McCann Search, 05 June 2014
Sniffer Dogs Resume Madeleine McCann Search Sky News (with video)

9:51am UK, Thursday 05 June 2014

British police ask for more time to search scrubland in Portugal, as sniffer dogs and forensics teams continue to scour the area.

Video: Sniffer Dogs Search Scrubland For Madeleine McCann

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

British police sniffer dogs have resumed their work on scrubland in a Portuguese resort on day four of an extensive search in the Madeleine McCann case.


One of the dogs from South Wales Police was working with its handler at dawn, scouring areas within the cordon that have not yet been explored.

The large search zone in Praia da Luz lies on unused land, five minutes' walk from the holiday complex where the McCanns were staying in May 2007.

Officers had planned to search the area only until Friday but have asked authorities in Portugal for an extra week.

Police dig in scrubland close to where Madeleine McCann disappeared

 

Police dig in scrubland close to where Madeleine McCann disappeared

They have been using ground-penetrating radar to discover what lies beneath the surface and have also searched drains close to the Ocean Club resort.

Tents have been put up at several locations, including one above a hole concealed by corrugated iron which was exposed on Tuesday when trees and shrubs were cut down.

Forensics officers dressed in white overalls were seen coming and going from the tents, pushing wheelbarrows around the site and using large sieves to sift through soil for clues.

The search was overseen by Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, the detective leading the investigation.

Police have not spoken about the intelligence that led them to the scrubland, which is thought to be one of three sites of interest in Praia da Luz.

Madeleine was three years old when she disappeared from the Algarve resort while on holiday with her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, and her younger siblings.

The renewed search for the missing youngster is a joint effort between police in the United Kingdom and Portugal and follows a Metropolitan Police review of the seven-year-old case.

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

Screenshots

 
Police resume their searches in Praia da Luz

 
Police resume their searches in Praia da Luz

 
Police resume their searches in Praia da Luz

 
Police resume their searches in Praia da Luz

Transcript

By Nigel Moore

Michelle Clifford: I think what we can read into is simply that this is, errr... going slower than they anticipated. It is inevitably slow and methodical work. They've been hard at for the last few days, as you say, and the officers are back again today.

You can't actually see them, they're... they're up the hill, errm... came in about 20 minutes ago, most of them, but some of them were out very early - officers from the Welsh force were out with the sniffer dogs again very early this morning. I think that was to take advantage of the... the cool temperatures for the dogs but also obviously to... to maximise time. As you say, they have now asked for this extra period of time, errm... that would give them sort of two weeks effectively, errm... of searching.

Now, they're... they've been going over this territory for the last few days but we also understand - or there are reports - that they may now also look at two further sites. So, that again would, errm... give them, errr... need for, errr... a greater number of days to carry out the search.

Now, what we're expecting today is it's going to be focussed again in the area immediately behind me in those two tents that were put up yesterday to cover a hole exposed the day before. Errr... There was corrugated iron over that hole and yesterday teams in forensic, errm... clothing were inside the tent, errr... going through the soil, taking out buckets of soil, wheelbarrows of soil for, errm... analysis.

And there was also, errm... a lot of focus yesterday on the ground-penetrating radar - that's a really useful tool. It allows the police to look, errr... below the surface of the earth. It doesn't tell them what's under the earth, if anything, what it tells you is if there's any kind of disturbance and then it can go in further and analyse. And it works really well in this sort of territory - this is dry soil and the radar can penetrate, errr... very effectively.

But it is, errr... slow-going and certainly there have been reports that the police have... had said that, errr... it is slower going than they anticipated and therefore there is that need for the extra time. Errm... We don't know yet for sure whether they are gong to get it or not, errr... they've certainly asked for it but I think the people will be anticipating they will be given, errm... those extra days if they need it, or at least that's the hope.

Madeleine McCann: police begin fourth day of Praia da Luz scrubland search, 05 June 2014
 
Madeleine McCann: police begin fourth day of Praia da Luz scrubland search The Guardian

Officers continue scouring patch of overgrown land including concealed shaft discovered beneath sheet of corrugated iron

Josh Halliday and Brendan de Beer in Praia da Luz
Thursday 5 June 2014 10.45 BST

British police with sniffer dogs check an area of scrubland during the search in the Praia da Luz. Photograph: Philip Toscano/PA

 

Detectives using sniffer dogs have begun a fourth day of searches in dense scrubland a short walk from where Madeleine McCann was last seen alive seven years ago.

Officers continued scouring the patch of overgrown land on Thursday morning using two springer spaniels that were deployed in the search for murdered schoolgirl April Jones.

As detectives returned to the 15-acre site in the Portuguese holiday resort of Praia da Luz, more details emerged about two key search sites that have become the focus of the investigation over the past three days.

One of the sites is a concealed shaft in the ground discovered by detectives beneath a sheet of corrugated iron. Forensic officers wearing protective clothing and face masks examined the site for several hours on Wednesday, erecting a white tent to shield their work from the glare of the world's media.

Police search land and undergrowth in the Portuguese resort. Photograph: Virgilio Rodrigues/Barcroft Medi

Portuguese newspapers reported on Thursday that this site was a disused storage box where children used to play. The shaft, measuring around 5ft by 3ft (150cm by 90cm), was covered by mounds of earth and a corrugated iron sheet, which is thought to have concealed the hole for years.

Another key area of interest for detectives was said to be a grave-like hole, where officers used ground penetrating radar before erecting a white tent and carrying out digging work.

Under the headline "False grave deceives geo-radar", the newspaper Correia da Manhã reported that a site "with characteristics similar to a grave" was discovered but officers later concluded that it was "not compatible with that of a body".

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, the Scotland Yard officer leading the operation, spent about an hour at this site with British officers and Faro's Polícia Judiciária director, Mota Carmo, on Wednesday, inspecting the discovery himself from inside the police tent.

Detectives will on Thursday examine the sewerage system below the hilly scrubland using micro-cameras and fibre-optic cables, according to Correia da Manhã.

Redwood and his team of British investigators arrived at the search site at 9.30am on Thursday, declining to speak to journalists as his accreditation was checked by armed Portuguese police officers guarding the parameter of the site.

Scotland Yard has formally applied to extend the ground-level searches into next week.

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

The painstaking investigative work, which began on Monday, is being delayed by a need to clear the sites using strimmers and chainsaws.

It is expected that the searches will now stretch into a second week, after Scotland Yard applied to extend the operation as they await formal approval from Portuguese police.

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

Message from the McCanns, 05 June 2014
Message from the McCanns Official Find Madeleine Campaign - Facebook

 
Official Find Madeleine Campaign - Facebook, 05 June 2014

 
Official Find Madeleine Campaign - Facebook, 05 June 2014


 

[Text versions of screenshots above]

Thursday, 5 June 2014 at 15:02

We would like to ask people to refrain from spreading rumours and speculation based on inaccurate press reporting. We are kept updated on the on-going work in Portugal and are encouraged by the progress.

Thank you for continuing to stand by us and supporting our efforts to get Madeleine home.

Gerry and Kate

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

Thursday, 5 June 2014 at 17:23

To those commenting on why Gerry and Kate are not in Portugal, it's because they were asked to not go there. Please let the police do their job.

And anyone posting their sanctimonious comments about leaving children alone will be banned. No questions asked. We've heard it all before. ENOUGH with the judging.

~FM Webmaster

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

Thursday, 5 June 2014 at 23:56

Roger, you are right, but I needed to clear that up. We take all guidance from the Met. People who question what Gerry and Kate do and don't do, need to realise we get guidance from the investigation team--especially when Gerry and Kate's actions could impact the investigation (i.e. being in Portugal at the same time the investigation team are looking for clues). ~FM Webmaster

McCanns Encouraged By New Madeleine Search, 05 June 2014
McCanns Encouraged By New Madeleine Search Sky News (with video)

11:59pm UK, Thursday 05 June 2014

As sniffer dogs and forensics teams continue to hunt for clues in Praia da Luz, Madeleine's parents thank supporters.

Video: Search For Madeleine McCann Moves To Drains

 

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

Kate and Gerry McCann say they are "encouraged by the progress" being made by search teams in Portugal close to where their daughter Madeleine went missing.

Writing on their Official Find Madeleine Campaign Facebook page, the couple said: "We are kept updated on the ongoing work in Portugal and are encouraged by the progress.

"Thank you for continuing to stand by us and supporting our efforts to get Madeleine home."

Kate and Gerry McCann with a picture of Madeleine as she might look now

 

Kate and Gerry McCann with a picture of Madeleine as she might look now

Police searching an area of scrubland in Praia da Luz have begun looking inside drains for any clues about her disappearance.

At least three manhole covers were pulled up and mini cameras dropped into underground pipes, on the fourth day of the search by officers from Britain.

Sniffer dogs started hunting for evidence at first light, scouring areas within the police cordon that had not previously been explored.

Cameras were dropped into at least three drains in Praia da Luz

 

Cameras were dropped into at least three drains in Praia da Luz

Officers have also been using ground-penetrating radar to discover whether anything may be buried there.

The large search zone in the Portuguese resort lies on unused land, five minutes' walk from the holiday complex where the McCanns were staying in May 2007.

Officers had planned to search the area only until Friday but have asked authorities in Portugal for an extra week.

A police officer peers into one of the drains in the Portuguese resort

 

A police officer peers into one of the drains in the Portuguese resort

Tents have been put up at several locations, including one above a hole concealed by corrugated iron which was exposed on Tuesday when trees and shrubs were cut down.

Forensics officers dressed in white overalls were seen coming and going from the tents, pushing wheelbarrows around the site and using large sieves to sift through soil for clues.

Evidence bags were carried away as Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, who is leading the investigation, looked on.

Sniffer dogs helped police officers hunt for clues

Sniffer dogs helped police officers hunt for clues

 

Sniffer dogs helped police officers hunt for clues

Police have not spoken about the intelligence that led them to the scrubland, which is thought to be one of three sites of interest in Praia da Luz.

Madeleine was three years old when she disappeared from the Algarve resort while on holiday with her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, and her younger siblings.

The renewed search for the missing youngster is a joint effort between police in the United Kingdom and Portugal and follows a Metropolitan Police review of the seven-year-old case.

Officers search through scrubland close to where Madeleine disappeared

 

Officers search through scrubland close to where Madeleine disappeared

Officers are expected to be given more time to search the site, which is guarded by local police day and night.

It is not clear whether work will continue over the weekend, while no activity is expected on Tuesday as it is a public holiday in Portugal.

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

Screenshots - video (silent)

 
The search for Madeleine McCann moves to drains

 
The search for Madeleine McCann moves to drains

 
The search for Madeleine McCann moves to drains

 
The search for Madeleine McCann moves to drains

Maddie police test 'clothes' find for DNA, 05/06 June 2014
Maddie police test 'clothes' find for DNA Daily Mirror (paper edition)

 
Daily Mirror, 06 June 2014

Scraps of fabric discovered near hidden pit on search site

FROM MARTIN FRICKER in Praia da Luz
Friday June 6, 2014


BRITISH police were last night DNA testing scraps of material found 300 yards from the spot where Madeleine McCann vanished.

The "non-organic" items were believed to include pieces of clothing. They were discovered near a hidden pit on wasteland at the Praia da Luz resort where the youngster was staying.

Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry said: "We are kept updated about the work and are encouraged by the progress."

FULL STORY: PAGE 5

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

Madeleine McCann cops carry out DNA tests on 'scraps of clothing' found near holiday resort Daily Mirror

Jun 05, 2014 17:09 | By Martin Fricker

A Portuguese military jet also swooped low over the site in Praia da Luz to gather detailed imagery of the terrain which will aid detectives int he search for Madeleine

Madeleine McCann Dig - Day 4

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

 
Hidden hole: British police uncover the pit near the McCanns' apartment in Praia da Luz - previously obscured by dense undergrowth

Hidden hole: British police uncover the pit near the McCanns' apartment in Praia da Luz - previously obscured by dense undergrowth

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

 
Map: Shows proximity of family's apartment to the dig site

Map: Shows proximity of family's apartment to the dig site

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

 
Shot from the air of the British police dig

Shot from the air of the British police dig

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

 
Shot from the air of the British police dig

Shot from the air of the British police dig

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

 
Shot from the air of the British police dig

Shot from the air of the British police dig

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

 
Shot from the air of the British police dig


 

Shot from the air of the British police dig
 
British police use cameras to look down manhole covers as part of new searches in Praia da Luz


 

British police use cameras to look down manhole covers as part of new searches in Praia da Luz

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

 
British police officers search the grounds in Praia da Luz in the hope of finding clues

British police officers search the grounds in Praia da Luz in the hope of finding clues

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

 
A British police handler cools down a sniffer dog after checking an area of scrubland during the search for evidence of Madeleine McCann

A British police handler cools down a sniffer dog after checking an area of scrubland during the search for evidence of Madeleine McCann

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

 
British police use cameras to look down manhole covers as part of new searches in Praia da Luz

British police use cameras to look down manhole covers as part of new searches in Praia da Luz

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

 
British police officer use spade and pick axes to clear waste ground

British police officer use spade and pick axes to clear waste ground

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

British cops are carrying out forensic tests on material discovered near a hidden pit on wasteland close to where Madeleine McCann vanished.

Experts drafted in from the UK are carrying out scientific analysis of the "non-organic" items - believed to include scraps of clothing.

Search teams scoured the cordoned off area for a fourth day and inspected sewers with hi-tech cameras.

A Portuguese military jet also swooped low over the site in Praia da Luz to gather detailed imagery of the terrain which will aid detectives.

UK sniffer dogs continue to work inside the taped-off area - which is 300 metres from the apartment where Madeleine disappeared in May 2007.

Detectives from Scotland Yard's Operation Grange need at least another week to scour the land and two more areas in the Algarve resort.

Met Police officers wearing blue combat trousers and white t-shirts cleared scrubland using spades and pick axes in searing 28C heat.

They were said to be looking for objects that may have been abandoned soon after the youngster disappeared from the nearby Ocean Club.

Search: Madeleine McCann disappeared in May 2007

Search: Madeleine McCann disappeared in May 2007

A team of experts lifted at least three manhole covers to expose a sewer system - installed as part of failed plans to build a hotel.

One plain-clothed UK detective then lowered a hi-tech micro-camera attached to a long pole down the drains and inspected the pipes.

Work also continued at the concealed shaft covered with corrugated iron sheeting that was discovered earlier in the week.

The concealed chamber, on the south-eastern tip of the search area, is believed to have been used previously by local children as a play area.

Local reports said "non-organic" items had been discovered close to the pit on Wednesday and is being subjected to forensic tests.

A source said: "It could be days before the significance of the items is known.

"Several are being analysed by the British team."

Scotland Yard refused to comment on the possible development, saying it was not giving a "running commentary" of the investigation.

Site: The proximity of the apartment to the dig

Site: The proximity of the apartment to the dig

The painstaking search is likely to go into a second week after police applied to the Portuguese judiciary in Lisbon to spend an extra seven days in the country.

It is not clear whether they will work over the weekend - and searches will come to a halt for 24 hours on Tuesday because it is a public holiday.

Madeleine's parents Kate, 46, and Gerry, 45, are being kept informed throughout the work and are said to be bracing themselves for "significant news".

The youngster was nearly four years old when she vanished from her parents' holiday apartment while they dined with friends in a nearby tapas restaurant.

The Portuguese police case - which was criticised after the McCanns were named formal suspects - was shelved the following year.

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

Maddie police pull 'clothes' from hole, 06 June 2014
Maddie police pull 'clothes' from hole The Sun (paper edition, page 21)

 
Maddie police pull 'clothes' from hole - The Sun, 06 June 2014 (paper edition, page 21)


 

Cameras in drain search

From MATT WILKINSON in Praia da Luz
Friday, June 6, 2014


MADELEINE McCann cops have found what are thought to be items of clothing near a hole they were searching.

Forensic experts were last night carrying out tests on the "non-organic" material.

A source said: "It could be days before the significance of the items is known. Several are being analysed."

It came as police yesterday lowered micro-cameras into a maze of unused sewage pipes under the vast search area - the size of three football pitches.

The British detectives were informed only this week of the pipes, which were fitted several years ago for a failed holiday development.

A Portuguese military jet flew over yesterday afternoon as digging - aided by ground-penetrating radar - continued on at least three sites in Praia da Luz where three-year-old Madeleine, above, vanished in 2007.

Scrubland

The sites included a mysterious pit found on scrubland by sniffer dogs.

Sheets of corrugated iron and wooden joists or frames - believed to be part of a kiddie's play den or storage area - were uncovered.

Around seven more areas of interest have been cordoned off. In particular, the detectives want to search two more patches of wasteland.

The investigation - led by the Met's Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood - will go into a second week after cops demanded more time from Portuguese officials.

Scotland Yard - which reopened the Madeleine case in 2011 - are refusing to discuss the investigation, saying they "would not give a running commentary".

But parents Kate and Gerry, below, said yesterday on the Official Find Madeleine Campaign Twitter account: "We are kept updated on the ongoing work in Portugal and are encouraged by the progress.

"Thank you for continuing to stand by us and supporting our efforts."

Madeleine McCann detectives begin fifth day of searches in Praia da Luz scrubland, 06 June 2014
 
Madeleine McCann detectives begin fifth day of searches in Praia da Luz scrubland The Guardian

The searches are taking place a short walk from the Ocean Club apartment where Madeleine was last seen alive in May 2007

Josh Halliday and Brendan de Beer in Praia da Luz
Friday 6 June 2014 11.35 BST

Scotland Yard detectives work with sniffer dogs on an area during the search for Madeleine McCann in Praia da Luz. Photograph: Rafael Marchante/REUTERS

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

A team of Scotland Yard officers arrived in the Portuguese holiday resort Praia da Luz shortly before 10am on Friday as the search of the 15-acre area prepared to draw to a close.

Officers are expected to spend another two days searching this dense area of scrubland before expanding the operation to two further sites next week.

On Thursday night, Kate and Gerry McCann, who have not travelled to Portugal, urged people to "refrain from spreading rumours" as they broke their silence on the latest police operation.

As detectives searched the underground sewerage network in Praia da Luz, the McCanns wrote on Facebook: "We would like to ask people to refrain from spreading rumours and speculation based on inaccurate press reporting.

"We are kept updated on the ongoing work in Portugal and are encouraged by the progress.

"Thank you for continuing to stand by us and supporting our efforts to get Madeleine home."

An administrator for the official Find Madeleine Facebook page later said the girl's parents, from Rothley in Leicestershire, had been asked not to visit Praia da Luz while the search was underway.

A post on the page said: "To those commenting on why Gerry and Kate are not in Portugal, it's because they were asked to not go there. Please let the police do their job.

"And anyone posting their sanctimonious comments about leaving children alone will be banned. No questions asked. We've heard it all before. ENOUGH with the judging."

The McCanns' statement came at the end of a fourth day of searches in a six-hectare (15-acre) spread of dense scrubland, where officers on Thursday prised open manholes and inspected sewer pipes using micro cameras and fibre optic cables.

At one of the sites police officers took away bags of evidence containing "non-organic" material, including an item of clothing that was later said to have been identified as a man's sock.

The ground-level searches, which began on Monday, are a five-minute walk from the Ocean Club apartment where Madeleine was last seen alive in May 2007. She went missing as her parents dined with friends at the hotel's tapas restaurant.

Madeleine McCann search: Police focus on two new areas, 06 June 2014
Madeleine McCann search: Police focus on two new areas BBC News

6 June 2014 Last updated at 13:28

 
Members of Scotland Yard have been seen inside the search area with police dogs

Members of Scotland Yard have been seen inside the search area with police dogs

Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have focussed their attentions on two new patches of land within the 15-acre search area.

Met Police officers have been examining the same section of private scrubland in Praia da Luz since Monday.

They have now focussed their attentions on two fresh areas within the site, where officers have cut back vegetation and used ground-penetrating radar.

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

As the search entered its fifth day, officers wearing Met Police uniforms have been seen studying a flat area of ground at the opposite end of the site in Portugal, which has seen activity over the past week.

They have also been examining the uneven ground inside one marked-out area, which was covered with long grass.

An item of clothing, believed to be a man's sock, was removed from the scene but is believed to have been ruled out of the investigation.

'Encouraged'

British and Portuguese police were due to end their search on Friday but have been given permission to continue into next week.

As well as being granted a seven-day extension at the search site, officers also have permission to investigate two other areas.

 
Scrubland search area, Praia da Luz

The BBC understands officers are due to continue searching the first area until Sunday, when the operation will halt for two days to coincide with a Portuguese national holiday.

Officers are then expected to begin work at the two other areas of interest from Wednesday. Both sites are believed to be in the "Luz area".

On Thursday night, Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, said they were "encouraged" by the progress made by police.

The couple released a statement on the Official Find Madeleine Campaign Facebook page.

"We are being kept updated on the on-going work in Portugal and are encouraged by the progress. Thank you for continuing to stand by us and supporting our efforts to get Madeleine home," they said in their first comments since the police search began on Monday.

 
Officers from Britain have permission to search three areas in the Portuguese holiday resort


 

Officers from Britain have permission to search three areas in the Portuguese holiday resort

The search comes after 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 prime suspects to be quizzed by British search police in Portugal, 06 June 2014
Madeleine McCann prime suspects to be quizzed by British search police in Portugal Daily Mirror

Jun 06, 2014 14:03 | By Martin Fricker

Lisbon judges grant permission to interview eight people of interest, including three convicted drug dealers, it is claimed

Scotland Yard detectives searching for Madeleine McCann have been given the go-ahead to quiz their prime suspects.

Officers from Operation Grange identified eight people earlier this year who they believe could help solve the seven-year-old case.

Now judicial authorities in Lisbon are said to have granted permission for Metropolitan Police detectives to question the men.

They include three suspected burglars who live close to the wasteland in Praia da Luz currently being searched by British teams.

The men, convicted drug dealers, were traced from phone records which placed them in the area at the time Madeleine vanished.

Scotland Yard refused to comment on the development, saying it does not provide a "running commentary" on the case.

But it is understood no questioning will take place until after the current searches have concluded.

Madeleine McCann on the family's holiday at Praia Da Luz

Madeleine McCann on the family's holiday at Praia Da Luz

Met detectives believe Madeleine was snatched by a panicked gang who accidentally woke her in the family's apartment and took her with them.

Mobile phone analysis shows the men made an unusually high number of calls to each other in the hours after she disappeared in May 2007.

It is understood three of the other five suspects worked at the Ocean Club complex where Madeleine was staying with her parents Kate and Gerry.

The news comes after it was revealed officers are carrying out DNA tests on scraps of clothing found on their search of the site.

When news of the breakthrough emerged earlier this year a source close to Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry said: "It could be a major breakthrough.

"Kate and Gerry are buoyed up by this latest development. While they don't want to build up their hopes too high they are feeling optimistic.

"They felt it was only a matter of time before new clues came to light."

British police use cameras to look down manhole covers as part of new searches in Praia Da Luz

British police use cameras to look down manhole covers as part of new searches in Praia Da Luz

Officers believe the burglars, who have not be identified, had carried out a raid in the resort days before Madeleine vanished, disturbing another child.

That youngster's parents were outside and rushed in to find the intruders had fled, but Portuguese police attached no significance to the break-in.

The Met is thought to have made checks into the men's criminal history, their friends and any vehicles they have used.

In an interview earlier this year, Britain’s most senior police officer suggested his officers were closing in on the people who abducted Madeleine.

Scotland Yard boss Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe admitted his Operation Grange team had the names of several suspects.

Site: The proximity of the apartment to the dig

According to respected Portuguese broadcaster RTP, the suspects will not be quizzed until the current searches in the Algarve resort have finished.

UK sniffer dogs which helped in the hunt for tragic youngster April Jones were again seen scouring wasteland in the popular resort on Friday.

Met police officers also continued to check an old sewer system underneath the cordoned-off area - which is 300 metres from the Ocean Club.

They were said to be looking for objects that may have been abandoned soon after the youngster disappeared.

Uniformed cops also focused their attention on a new patch of scrubland inside the same cordon, which is guarded by their Portuguese counterparts.

Officers were seen studying a flat area of ground at the opposite end of the area which has seen activity over the past five days.

Madeleine's parents Kate, 46, and Gerry, 45, are being kept informed throughout the work and said they are bracing themselves for "significant news".

The youngster was nearly four-years-old when she vanished from her parents' holiday apartment while they dined with friends in a nearby tapas restaurant.

The Portuguese police case - which was criticised after the McCanns were named formal suspects - was shelved the following year.

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

Madeleine McCann Police Search New Area, 06 June 2014
 
Madeleine McCann Police Search New Area Sky News

6:02pm UK, Friday 06 June 2014

Police search another piece of scrubland after previously focusing on a hole which had been covered in undergrowth.

Police lift a manhole cover and check inside using a camera

 

British police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal have been looking at a new patch of scrubland close to where she went missing.

Police were seen inspecting a flat area of ground at the other end of the area they have been studying over the past week.

Yellow tape has been placed in various parts of scrubland in Praia da Luz on the Algarve, to highlight areas of interest to police.

Officers could be seen examining the grass-covered, uneven ground inside one marked-out area.

The search is in its fifth day - police had previously been focusing on a hole which had been covered in undergrowth.

A police officer checks soil samples

 

A police officer checks soil samples

Forensics officers sifted through soil in large sieves inside a white tent set up to cover the hole, which was thought to have been used as a children's den.

An item of clothing, believed to be a man's sock, was removed from the scene but was thought to have been ruled out of the investigation.

Madeleine's parents said on Thursday they were "encouraged" by the progress made as police search for clues about what happened to their daughter after she disappeared from the resort in May 2007 at the age of three.

Writing on the Find Madeleine Campaign Facebook page, Kate and Gerry McCann thanked their followers for the support they had received.

"We are being kept updated on the ongoing work in Portugal and are encouraged by the progress," the message said.

"Thank you for continuing to stand by us and supporting our efforts to get Madeleine home."

Police officers clear an area of wasteland during the search

Police officers clear an area of wasteland during the search

The land, which is a few minutes' walk from the Ocean Club resort apartment where Madeleine and her family were staying, has been searched before.

Two other areas are also expected to be searched by investigators.

The operation is likely to go into a second week after British police applied to the judiciary to spend an extra seven days there.

It is not clear whether they will work over the weekend and nothing is expected to be carried out on Tuesday as it is a public holiday.

 

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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