We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


Madeleine McCann latest: Sniffer dogs used by police in Portugal scrubland search

British police in Praia da Luz bring in sniffer dogs on second day of search

Sniffer dogs have been deployed to assist British Police in the search for missing Madeleine McCann in scrubland near the Portuguese resort where she disappeared seven years ago.

The development came as British officers, accompanied by their Portuguese counterparts, spent a second day investigating the hilly area in the resort of Praia da Luz on the Algarve.

Two specially trained victim detection dogs and two dog handlers accompanied by British police spent around five minutes on a flat area of the scrubland, at the bottom of a slope.

They were then taken away out of sight, while 10 officers stood around in discussion.

South Wales Police confirmed the English springer spaniels, called Tito and Muzzy, were assisting with the investigation, and were also used during the search for murdered school girl April Jones in 2012.

A spokesman said: "Two South Wales Police specialist dog handlers, and victim detection dogs, have been deployed to assist with the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

"The officers are working as part of a small team of British police officers, led by Metropolitan Police Service in conjunction with the Portuguese authorities."

A stretch of land in the resort was taped off ahead of what police said would be a “substantial stage of activity” on Monday, not far from the holiday apartment where Madeleine was staying with her family when she went missing in May 2007.

The large section of land is being guarded day and night by armed local police with dogs, and a large yellow-and-white cordon was put in place ahead of the search for clues about Madeleine.

A number of small tents have been erected inside the cordon, thought to be where officers are concentrating their efforts.

web-mccann.jpgAt least 30 officers arrived on Tuesday morning for the second day of the search and teams are expected to bring in ground penetrating radar equipment at some stage to probe the ground and look for disturbed earth.

Scotland Yard, which is carrying out its own investigation into what happened to the youngster, refused to comment on British officers being at the scene and said the force was "not prepared to give a running commentary" about the case.