Madeleine McCann investigation: Parents said to be on 'tenterhooks' amid reports Scotland Yard team is 'set to swoop on three suspects'

Reports that police are seeking assistance to interview the three potential suspects following suspicions raised by phone records

British detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have arrived in Portugal to discuss potential leads with local officers and are 'set to swoop on three suspects’, reports have claimed.

Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry, are said to be “on tenterhooks”, according to reports in The Daily Mirror, over a possible breakthrough in the six-year case of their missing daughter after a team from Scotland Yard travelled to the Algarve.

Hopes were raised that a potential development was imminent after British police sent an International Letter of Request to authorities in the country asking for help to trace three burglary suspects spotted in the area where Madeleine vanished almost seven years ago.

"It is necessary for British police to request the Portuguese authorities to allow them to operate on their turf," a source told the Mirror. "It means they have the intention of arresting and interviewing X, Y or Z."

The team, headed by Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, who is leading the Met's investigation, reportedly met members of Portugal's Policia Judiciaria and prosecutors to request help and discuss leads identified by teams in the UK.

It is reported that they are seeking assistance to interview the three potential suspects, though Scotland Yard refused to confirm whether a team was in the country or the purpose behind the travel.

The development follows scrutiny of mobile phone records that revealed the suspects repeatedly called each other in the hours after three-year-old Madeleine disappeared from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in May 2007.

Kate and Gerry McCann are said to be 'on tenterhooks' about the possible breakthrough Kate and Gerry McCann are said to be 'on tenterhooks' about the possible breakthrough The Metropolitan Police launched its own investigation in July into the disappearance of the then toddler. A number of new developments, including crucial changes to what was originally thought to be the timeline around events in the Portuguese resort, were detailed in a BBC Crimewatch programme.

Television appeals in the UK, Germany and Holland last year triggered thousands of calls from the public.

British officers have travelled to the Algarve numerous times since then in the search of the missing girl.

The Portuguese police, which once declared the parents as suspects, shelved the inquiry into her disappearance in 2008, but in October said that a review had uncovered enough new information to justify reopening the case.

Police in Portugal are running their investigation in parallel with the British inquiry but there were calls earlier this month for the two teams to merge.

According to the Mail Online, which claims to have published pictures of the police arriving in Portugal, British officers held a three-hour meeting with senior members of Portugal’s detective squad shortly after arriving on Monday.

A source close to Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry, told the Mirror: “Clearly the fact that the police are out there is significant. Kate and Gerry will now be on tenterhooks as they wait for any potential developments.

“The Met are being very pro-active and this is good news in the search for Madeleine and her abductor.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the force was “not prepared to give a running commentary” about the investigation.

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own