Madeleine: Police end scrub search

Madeleine: Police end scrub search

British police officers search the ground using sticks inside a cordoned-off area in Praia da Luz, Portugal

British police and forensics officers clear and dig the ground inside a cordoned-off area, in Praia da Luz, Portugal

First published in National News © by

Police in Portugal investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have finished their first search of an area of scrubland in Praia da Luz.

Forensic teams are expected to move on to two other sites from Wednesday after halting the operation for two days to coincide with a Portuguese national holiday.

Cordons were removed last night from the area of land in the Algarve holiday resort that has been the centre of the police search for the last week.

Specialist teams used ground-penetrating radar equipment, examined drains and dug holes as they hunted for any clues into what happened to Madeleine, then three, who went missing from the nearby Ocean Club resort apartment in May 2007.

Paul Luckman, editor of the local Portugal News, questioned the expense of the investigation to the British taxpayer and said people were beginning to wonder when the situation was going to end.

He told Sky News: "Nothing has been found that the Portuguese police missed at the time. People really feel that enough is enough.

"(It's) not that they don't have sympathy for the parents or that they don't want the child found but (we have to) be realistic - we're seven years down the road."

Police are thought to be planning to interview "several suspects" in the near future over the little girl's disappearance.

It was reported on Friday that Scotland Yard has been granted permission from the Portuguese authorities to question three suspects about the case.

But the BBC claimed Portuguese police said more than three people will be interviewed over the coming weeks, with British officers allowed to sit in during interviews but not intervene themselves. Scotland Yard declined to comment.

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