“CONCRETE clues” sparked Madeleine McCann cops’ latest reservoir search, the probe’s chief has revealed.
German, Portuguese and British cops have spent two days scouring Portugal’s Arade Dam in the hope of a fresh breakthrough.
Police and search teams arrive on site at the Barregem do Arade Dam[/caption]
A tip from a ‘very credible’ police informer is said to have initially caused cops to start the search[/caption]
A rotorvator-style machine has been brought in to power through the undergrowth[/caption]
Madeleine McCann went missing in May 2007[/caption]
A tip from a “very credible” police informer is said to have initially caused cops to start the search.
Portuguese sources said a German nark gave detectives details being taken “very seriously” relating to the movements of prime suspect Christian B.
And now, probe chief Hans Christian Wolters said he acted on “concrete clues” that vital evidence may be at the site.
Portuguese “Forest Sappers” were today drafted in to help scour nearby woodland at the site 31 miles from the Praia da Luz holiday apartment where three-year-old Madeleine was snatched in May 2007.
The sappers – who usually specialise in clearing scrubland to prevent forest fires – used remote controlled rotorvator-style machine to power through dense undergrowth.
Officers cleared ground to enable them to widen the search area as hopes rose that the tip-off could lead to a breakthrough – and finally nail sex fiend Christian B.
Dozens of German, Portuguese and British cops scheduled to scour the waterside beauty spot for two days were given more time to complete their work today.
A Portuguese source told The Sun: “It’s clear that they believe there may be something very important here – because they’ve been given more time to search for it.
“The area is also being extended to include an area covered by vegetation which is being cut back so the ground can be examined.
“Indications are that the operation will continue into Thursday and possibly longer.”
German cops probing the 45-year-old predator believe he may have taken Madeleine to the beauty spot he called his “little paradise” after snatching her as her parents Kate and Gerry dined out.
And they remain convinced the convicted rapist and paedophile raped and killed her before dumping her body.
Search teams yesterday took away more evidence bags after it was revealed they were asked to look for cloth and fibres – amid claims traces of Madeleine’s pink pyjamas were being sought.
German police were understood to have linked Christian B to the dam area after pictures of him there were found among his secret stash of 8,000 sick porn pictures and videos.
But respected Portuguese publication Expresso yesterday claimed the search had been prompted by information given to them by an “informer”.
It named German BKA federal police officer Rainer Grimm as the top cop leading the operation in Arade.
The report added: “These searches have their origin in a tip from a BKA informant who that police force considers very credible.
“This informant told investigators details that the German police took very seriously.
“The searches were requested by the German police after receiving this information.”
Searchers are understood to have requested more time after the first day of the operation ended with no significant finds on Tuesday.
Police collected several objects including fabrics – and sniffer dogs on site had also identified areas where biological traces might be found.
But teams commanded by Germany’s Braunschweig prosecutor Wolters have yet to unearth the crucial evidence they seek.
Wolters – who hopes to charge Christian B with Madeleine’s abduction and murder – said yesterday: “We have concrete clues that we could find something there.
“I already heard that there is some speculation about this being something to do with our suspect.
“Yes, he is still a suspect in our case but there are no clues from Christian B but we have indications that we could find evidence there.
“I don’t want to say what that is exactly, and I also don’t want to say where these indications come from – the only thing that I would clarify is that it doesn’t come from the suspect.
“We don’t have a confession or anything similar now, or an indication from the suspect of where it would make sense to search.”
The cautious probe chief went on to play down hopes of a bombshell breakthrough, adding: “We never said that the girl disappeared where we are now searching.”
Police announced on Monday that the search would last two days and a no-fly zone to ward off drone intrusions was due to end at 10pm last night.
Heavy rain on Tuesday also cost the team vital hours and they spent much of yesterday clearing undergrowth in a bid to widen the search area around a car park linked to a dusty track.
Christian B is known to have parked his yellow and white VW camper van at the secluded spot behind trees where three white and cream-coloured police tents stood yesterday.
Chainsaws, strimmers and the remote-controlled rotavator could be heard yesterday as officers – wearing masks to conceal their identity – could be heard shouting commands in German.
Scotland Yard monitors were also on site on a “watching brief” with orders to report back to doctors Kate and Gerry, at home in Rothley, Leics.
The dam was searched in February and March 2008 by divers hired by a Portuguese lawyer – who also acted on an underworld tip-off.
Two bags containing small bones were found during the second search along with a length of nylon cord weighed down with stones and a sock – but the items were not deemed significant.
Police divers were standing by to join yesterday’s professional police search but had not been deployed last night.
Arade Dam is a 15-minute drive from the town of Silves, where a lorry driver claimed he saw a woman handing a little girl to a man two days after Madeleine vanished.
The search is the first major operation of its kind since June 2014 when British police were given permission to search in Praia da Luz using sniffer dogs and ground-penetrating radar.
In a smaller operation in July 2020 Portuguese police and firefighters searched three wells for Madeleine’s body but failed to find any trace of her.
Christian B is currently in jail for the 2005 rape of an American pensioner in Praia da Luz, just yards from the McCanns’ apartment.
He also faces a string of other sex charges.
German police believe he killed Madeleine — but three years after announcing him as a suspect are no nearer to bringing charges.
His lawyer Freidrich Fulscher has insisted he had no involvement in the McCann case and is attempting to have it thrown out.
Prime suspect Christian B is known to have visited the beauty spot in Portugal[/caption]
Cops are searching through dense undergrowth at the dam and reservoir[/caption]
Parent Kate and Gerry McCann are desperate to know what happened to their daughter[/caption]