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UK police formally request Portuguese help over Madeleine

British detectives have formally requested help from Portuguese authorities as part of their investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

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Madeleine McCann police 'hoping to make first arrests'

The CPS has sent an International Letter of Request to Portuguese police seeking permission to make the first arrests in the hunt of Madeleine McCann, the Mirror reports.

A spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann said the letter was "significant" but they were not building their hopes up. The spokesman told the Mirror:

The letter is a significant development. It is necessary for British police to request the ­Portuguese authorities allow them to operate on their turf.

It means they have the intention of arresting and interviewing X, Y or Z. We don’t know who they have their sights on but it’s likely it is the burglars.

Whether the Portuguese will co-operate remains to be seen. It is a very sensitive issue with differences they have had.

Police want to be given a chance to arrest key suspects. It doesn’t prove they have Madeleine but it will rule them in or out of the investigation and that is important.

Kate and Gerry don’t want to build up their hopes too high but they realise it could be a significant new lead.

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