Madeleine McCann detectives fly to Portugal

Last updated 08:30 30/01/2014
Madeleine McCann
MYSTERY: Madeleine McCann disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz as her parents dined at a nearby restaurant.
Gerry and Kate McCann
PARENTS: Gerry and Kate McCann.

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British detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are in Portugal trying to get the go ahead to interview three men who are under suspicion.

The  detectives have held a three-hour meeting with senior Portuguese officers and prosecutors.

The talks were believed to have centred on getting local officials to sanction the arrest and questioning of the three suspects, the Mirror reported.

Head of the re-investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, was seen arriving at police headquarters in Faro late at night clutching two bulging box files.

The meeting follows a cold case review by British police who trawled through mobile phone data.

The three suspects, thought to be a burglary gang, were said to have been very close to the scene when Maddie, then 3, was snatched from her family's holiday apartment at the resort of Praia da Luz in May 2007.

The three men made a large number of calls to each other in the hours after Maddie was abducted.

Between January and May 2007, the number of burglaries in the area increased four-fold.

A source close to Kate and Gerry McCann, the toddler's parents, said the couple would be on tenterhooks waiting for any potential developments. They were "cautiously hopeful".

A source close to the Portuguese detective squad told the Daily Mail: "The British are desperate to interview three burglars that were in Praia da Luz at the time of Madeleine's disappearance.

"But they are also urging the Portuguese authorities find new evidence against the burglary suspects that could lead to arrests."

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