Madeleine McCann latest: British police ‘refused access’ to three Praia da Luz burglary suspects

Portuguese media has claimed Met Police request to gain access to homes and interview suspects has been denied by authorities

British police have reportedly been refused permission to search the homes of three burglary suspects and interview them as part of an investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Local media in Portugal have refused a Metropolitan Police plea to search the homes of three men who used to work at the Ocean Complex, where the McCann family were staying at the time Madeleine vanished and who are suspected of a number of break-ins in the weeks leading up to her disappearance, Sky News has reported.

Scotland Yard has refused to comment on the reports.

Yesterday, it emerged that authorities in Portugal have approved plans by the Met Police to dig for evidence at the resort where Madeleine went missing seven years ago.

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. 

Portuguese police have been "more bureaucratic and slower" at processing requests than his team had wished, Mr Rowley added, but he asked the media to respect their requests as they carried out the work.

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

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.

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 went missing on 3 May 2007, after she disappeared from her bed in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz. She was three-years-old when she vanished.

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.

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