Madeleine McCann: Number of items seized in fresh search ‘cannot yet be linked’ to disappearance

ITV News' Chloe Keedy reports on the latest from Algarve, Portugal where police have seized "a number of items" in their Madeleine McCann investigation

Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have confirmed "a number of items were seized" after the recent search at a Portuguese dam.

But German prosecutors have said they cannot yet link the items seized in the fresh searches at the Barragem do Arade reservoir, around 30 miles from where three-year-old Madeleine went missing in 2007.

Prosecutor for the city of Braunschweig, Christian Wolters, said the investigation into 46-year-old suspect Christian Brueckner is expected to continue for a long time and that the items would be evaluated in the coming days and weeks.

The large scale police search lasted three days and finished on Thursday, May 25.

Officers concentrated their search at an area of woodland, which has now been flattened, with eight small holes dug with shovels.

In an update on Thursday, the Braunschweig Public Prosecutor's Office said: "The search operation carried out last week in the area of the Arade reservoir in Portugal ended on Thursday after three days as planned.

"A previously precisely defined area along the reservoir was completely searched for possible evidence.

"A number of items were seized as part of the operation. These will be evaluated in the coming days and weeks.

"It is not yet possible to say whether some of the items are actually related to the Madeleine McCann case."

The fresh searches were carried out at the request of German investigators who believe their prime suspect, convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner, 46, kidnapped and murdered the youngster.

He has reportedly denied any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance.

The large scale police search ended at 4pm on May 25. Credit: AP

"The investigations conducted here in Braunschweig against the 46-year-old suspect are expected to continue for some time," the statement added, referring to Brueckner.

He is currently in prison in Germany for the rape of a woman in Praia da Luz in 2005, and is suspected of further rapes and child sexual abuse committed in the area between 2000 and 2017.

German authorities have not revealed what triggered the latest search operation, but Mr Wolters said they were acting on the basis of "certain tips".

ITV News understands these tip-offs are not from Brueckner or anyone in connection to him.

When the work began on Tuesday, May 23, search teams were seen scouring the banks, hammering at the ground with pickaxes and combing through small rocks with rakes and spades.

Around a dozen officers with sniffer dogs were also at the site, while the fire service boat took officers onto the water.

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