Maddie McCann police in Portugal ‘no longer needed’ on day three of search

Portuguese police scouring a reservoir in the Madeleine McCann search have been told they are to “stand down” at 4pm today. This likely signals the end of the search in the Barragem do Arade area by the National Republican Guard (GNR), 30 miles from Praia da Luz, where the then-three-year-old vanished in 2007.

A source said: “The GNR has received instructions to stand down at 4pm local time.” The GNR is one of the two Portuguese police forces which have been scouring the reservoir and surrounding area. 

At present, it is unclear as to the plans of the other force, the Policia Judiciaria. Forensics scouring the area have been looking for pink Winnie the Pooh ‘Eeyore’ pyjamas, it has been reported.

Water levels at the desolate location, described by cops’ chief suspect in the case as his “little paradise”, are currently very low because of a drought in the area that’s made search conditions ideal.

Officials from Portugal, Germany and the UK have been in attendance and officers have been spotted using pickaxes to search the ground and combing through small rocks with rakes and spades. 

The activity has been the first major search in the case since 2014. Braunschweig prosecutor Christian Wolters said it was prompted by “certain tips” but would not elaborate on the source.

The search was always due to go ahead for three days, but there had been questions raised over whether or not investigators would extend this time. 

The spotlight on the five mile reservoir was reportedly sparked by the discovery of new pictures and videos, showing prime suspect in the case, Christian Brueckner, at the scene. 

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