Police re-investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have been inundated with new and potentially useful information from viewers of a BBC Crimewatch appeal, broadcast last night.
Crimewatch editor Joe Mather said several callers had given the same name for the man spotted carrying a child towards the beach. He told BBC radio 4:
It's been a truly unprecedented response. We had over 300 calls, texts and emails from this specific case, which is extremely unusual for Crimewatch, so we were generally pleased with the response and I think the police were too.
Significantly there were lots of calls from British people who were in Praia da Luz around the time of Madeleine's disappearance who had never previously spoken to the Met so there's lots of information coming through there.
Following the broadcast of a fresh BBC Crimewatch appeal into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, two independent callers last night phoned police with the same name for the man shown on the new e-fit picture.
Viewers were shown a pair of images of a man with dark hair, which are based on descriptions from two witnesses who were staying in Praia da Luz, when the three-year-old went missing in 2007.
DCI Andy Redwood, the senior officer investigating the the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, said that the evidence of the kidnapping had "the hallmarks of a pre-planned abduction that would have undoubtedly have involved reconnaissance."
The two new e-fits of a man were broadcast, while police said they had effectively ruled out a previous key sighting of a different man carrying a little girl.
Nearly 500 people have contacted police with information after a fresh television appeal into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, Scotland Yard has said.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said he is "extremely pleased" with the response to the BBC's Crimewatch, with over 300 calls and 170 emails received.
"We will now take the time to follow up these lines of enquiry."
Police say they've had an "overwhelming response" to a television appeal for information about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Hundreds of people called the BBC's Crimewatch programme after it broadcast images of a man seen carrying a child that night in the Portuguese resort of Praia de Luz.
The police officer leading the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, says he believes many of the calls will be important - some have come from people in the resort at the time.
Detectives have ruled out the key sighting that underpinned the original Madeleine McCann investigation and adopted a new focus in the hunt.Read the full story ›
A new reconstruction of the hours leading up to Madeleine's disappearance in the Portuguese resort of Praia de Luz in 2007 has been broadcast on the BBC's Crimewatch programme this evening, along with two images of a man seen carrying a girl in his arms.
Police say their interest has now turned to four key areas.
- A man with dark hair who was seen with a little girl in his arms at around 10pm on the evening Madeleine disappeared. They've ruled out a man seen carrying a child by the McCann's friend Jane Tanner.
- A spate of break-ins in the area which peaked in the month Madeleine went missing.
Fair-haired men seen near the apartment at the time who could be Dutch or German. TV appeals are running in Holland and Germany.
Bogus charity collectors who were operating in the area at the time.
A rise in local burglaries that peaked in the month Madeleine McCann disappeared are also being studied by Scotland Yard detectives who are investigating whether the three-year-old may have disturbed a break-in before being snatched.
"Whilst the numbers are low, we can see that there was an increase in burglary in Praia de Luz between January and April 2007 that spiked in April 2007," Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said.
"Windows were a feature, as well as burglaries taking place in the evening."
Police are also interested in an incident that occurred in Praia da Luz in 2006 when a man, described as white with dark hair, rummaged through an apartment in which two children were inside before leaving empty handed.
E-fits have also been issued of two Portuguese men who police suspect of posing as charity collectors in Praia da Luz around the time Madeleine McCann was abducted.
Bogus collectors targeted properties in the area on at least four occasions on the day the three-year-old was abducted, Scotland Yard has said.
One man, aged 40 to 45, knocked on the door of the apartment where the McCanns were to stay on April 25 or 26 between 2.30pm and 3pm, saying that he was a charity collector.
The other, aged 25 to 30, approached a property on the Rua do Ramalhete, near the Ocean Club, at around 4pm on May 3, hours before Madeleine McCann disappeared.
Scotland Yard detectives are separately trying to identify two fair-haired men - thought to be Dutch or German - who were seen "lurking around" the Praia da Luz apartment on the night of Madeleine McCann's disappearance.
TV appeals regarding the men will run in Holland and Germany, though not in Portugal.
One is of a man who was seen twice by the same witness near the flat where the McCanns were staying.
He was described as aged 30 to 35 and thin, with short hair, shaving spots on his face and wearing a black leather jacket. Another witness saw a similar-looking man in the resort.
Police say their presence close to the Ocean Club points to possible reconnaissance of the apartment complex.
Evidence gathered to rule out the sighting of a man and child previously thought to be Madeleine McCann and her abductor has been described as a "revelation" by police investigating the three-year-old's disappearance.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood told BBC's Crimewatch programme why the revision of the 9:15pm sighting in the timeline of the night of May 3 2007 has had such significance on the investigation.