Madeleine McCann latest: British police arrive in Portugal for investigation

Scotland Yard detectives are expected to examine several sites in Praia da Luz

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The Independent Online

Detectives from Scotland Yard involved in investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are understood to have arrived in Portugal to help with the excavation of a number of sites in the Praia da Luz resort where the three-year-old went missing seven years ago.

Madeleine vanished on 3 May 2007, after she disappeared from her bed in the Ocean Club resort.

Portuguese authorities reportedly approved plans by the Met Police to dig for evidence near the Ocean Club earlier this week.

On Tuesday, Met Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said he believed “activity” would occur within the next few weeks, but would not be able to provide any further details on what this would entail.

A letter was subsequently sent to media outlets, where Mr Rowley asked them to "think carefully" about the information they publish.

He said Portuguese police did not give media updates on ongoing investigations, and this “activity” would cease if British police provided any information on the continuing investigation to journalists.

Forensic teams will use ground penetrating radar equipment to examine three sites in Praia da Luz, in an operation that comes just days after the seventh anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance.

Read more: Madeleine McCann: The case so far

The excavations, which are expected to be conducted by forensic experts, are not thought to necessarily be in connection with a search for the youngster's body or remains.

Read more: British police ‘refused access’ to three burglary suspects

A road close to the Ocean Club resort, wasteland next to the complex where witnesses reported seeing a man walk past carrying a girl towards the sea, and a beach just a short walk away, are the three sites officers are expected to search.

Madeleine’s mother Kate McCann has previously expressed frustration at the pace of the Portuguese investigation, describing it as “really hard to take” and “distressing”.

"To us, it makes sense that the two police forces should work together, to have a more streamlined approach to avoid duplication and basically to progress the investigation at a faster pace,” she told the BBC earlier this month.