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Madeleine McCann: Pictures show sniffer dogs and pickaxes as police begin fresh search

Police are searching a reservoir around 30 miles from where she went missing in 2007.

Madeleine McCann went missing in Portugal in May 2007. (PA)
Madeleine McCann went missing in Portugal in May 2007. (PA)

A new search is under way in Portugal in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Police divers entered the water early on Tuesday at the Barragem do Arade reservoir, around 30 miles from Praia da Luz, where the three-year-old went missing in 2007.

Authorities later combed the banks of the reservoir with the help of sniffer dogs, rakes and pickaxes.

Portuguese police had confirmed on Monday they were co-ordinating searches in the Algarve at the request of German police and in the presence of British officers.

It has been reported that the prime suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance, convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner, 45, spent time in the area between 2000 and 2017.

Investigators believe he killed Madeleine after abducting her from a holiday apartment.

Brueckner, who has denied involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance, was first identified as a suspect by German investigators.

Brueckner is facing charges in Germany over a number of separate sex offences allegedly committed in Portugal during that time.

A police officer and a dog work at the Arade dam near Silves, Portugal, Tuesday May 23, 2023. Portuguese police aided by German and British officers have resumed their search for Madeleine McCann, the British child who disappeared in the country's southern Algarve region 16 years ago. Some 30 officers could be seen in the area by the Arade dam, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Praia da Luz, where the 3-year-old was last seen alive in 2007. (AP Photo/Joao Matos)
A police officer and a dog work at the reservoir in the Algave, Portugal. (AP)
Personnel at Barragem do Arade reservoir, in the Algave, Portugal, as searches begin as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The area is around 50km from Praia da Luz where Madeleine went missing in 2007. Picture date: Tuesday May 23, 2023.
Search teams inspect the area. (PA)
Police work by the banks of the Arade dam near Silves, Portugal, Tuesday May 23, 2023. Portuguese police aided by German and British officers have resumed their search for Madeleine McCann, the British child who disappeared in the country's southern Algarve region 16 years ago. Some 30 officers could be seen in the area by the Arade dam, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Praia da Luz, where the 3-year-old was last seen alive in 2007. (AP Photo/Joao Matos)
Police work by the banks of the Arade dam near Silves. (AP)
Personnel at Barragem do Arade reservoir, in the Algave, Portugal, as searches begin as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The area is around 50km from Praia da Luz where Madeleine went missing in 2007. Picture date: Tuesday May 23, 2023. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
The area is around 50km from Praia da Luz where Madeleine went missing in 2007. (Getty)

German authorities release statement

A brief statement from the prosecutor’s office in the German city of Braunschweig confirmed the search but did not reveal why it was taking place.

Braunschweig prosecutor Christian Wolters told reporters that investigators were acting on the basis of “certain tips” but would not give further details.

The Sun reported that the search was sparked after they discovered video and photos of Brueckner near the reservoir.

Personnel at Barragem do Arade reservoir, in the Algave, Portugal, as searches begin as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The area is around 50km from Praia da Luz where Madeleine went missing in 2007. Picture date: Tuesday May 23, 2023. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
The searches are part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. (Getty)
Portuguese firefighters work onboard a boat during a new search operation amid the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann (Maddie) in the Arade dam, in Silves, near Praia da Luz, on 23 May, 2023. This operation stems from a European Investigation Order addressed by the German authorities to Portugal and focuses on the Arade dam, located about 50 kilometers from Praia da Luz, the place where the child disappeared in May 2007, 16 years ago, while on vacation with her parents. (Photo by FILIPE AMORIM / AFP) (Photo by FILIPE AMORIM/AFP via Getty Images)
Portuguese firefighters work onboard a boat during a new search operation. (Getty)
Personnel at Barragem do Arade reservoir, in the Algave, Portugal, as searches begin as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The area is around 50km from Praia da Luz where Madeleine went missing in 2007. Picture date: Tuesday May 23, 2023. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
The most recent search in Portugal in relation to Madeleine's disappearance was in 2014. (Getty)
Personnel at Barragem do Arade reservoir, in the Algave, Portugal, as searches begin as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The area is around 50km from Praia da Luz where Madeleine went missing in 2007. Picture date: Tuesday May 23, 2023. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Met Police officers are on site. (Getty)

Met Police confirm role in new search

The Metropolitan Police said officers would be there in order to inform Madeleine’s family if there were any developments.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell said: “The Met continues to work with and support colleagues in Portugal and Germany, with their investigations into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

“Met officers will be in Portugal and I am grateful to the Polícia Judiciária and Bundeskriminalamt for allowing us to be present whilst their work is ongoing, so that we can inform Madeleine’s family of any developments.”

Personnel at Barragem do Arade reservoir, in the Algave, Portugal, as searches begin as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The area is around 50km from Praia da Luz where Madeleine went missing in 2007. Picture date: Tuesday May 23, 2023. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
The resovoir has been searched before. (Getty)
Portuguese authorities from the Judicial Police (PJ) criminal investigation unit work during a new search operation amid the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann (Maddie) at the Arade dam, in Silves, near Praia da Luz, on 23 May, 2023. This operation stems from a European Investigation Order addressed by the German authorities to Portugal and focuses on the Arade dam, located about 50 kilometers from Praia da Luz, the place where the child disappeared in May 2007, 16 years ago, while on vacation with her parents. (Photo by FILIPE AMORIM / AFP) (Photo by FILIPE AMORIM/AFP via Getty Images)
The operation stems from a European Investigation Order. (Getty)
Personnel at Barragem do Arade reservoir, in the Algave, Portugal, as searches begin as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The area is around 50km from Praia da Luz where Madeleine went missing in 2007. Picture date: Tuesday May 23, 2023. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Teams from Portugal and Germany are involved in the operation. (Getty)
Personnel and media at Barragem do Arade reservoir, in the Algave, Portugal, as searches begin as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The area is around 50km from Praia da Luz where Madeleine went missing in 2007. Picture date: Tuesday May 23, 2023. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Media at Barragem do Arade reservoir. (Getty)

Barragem do Arade reservoir

Four teams of officers from the Portuguese Policia Judiciaria are involved in the operation, along with at least 20 of their German counterparts, Portuguese news outlet SIC said.

Around a dozen officers with sniffer dogs were moving along the bank of the reservoir as part of the search on Tuesday.

In 2008, Portuguese lawyer Marcos Aragao Correia paid for specialist divers to search the resovoir after he claimed to have been tipped off by criminal contacts that Madeleine’s body was there.

The most recent search in Portugal in relation to Madeleine's disappearance was in 2014, when British police were given permission to examine scrubland near where she vanished.