The police review of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has identified "a handful of people of interest" in connection with the case, Scotland Yard confirmed today.
Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell said the people could be investigated further if only to be eliminated as people of interest.
He said: "The purpose of the review was to look at the case with fresh eyes and there is always real benefit in doing so. The review has further identified both investigative and forensic opportunities to support the Portuguese.
"There is more than a handful of people of interest which could be explored further if only to be eliminated.
"The key things are to investigate the case and our work is happening to support the Portuguese."
Today he also urged the Portugese authorities to investigate new leads identified by the British review.
Speaking on the eve of his retirement, DCS Campbell said: “There are a lot of people of interest. There are people who could be properly explored further, if only to be eliminated.”
He refused to give names but said there were 'more than a handful' of 'people of interest'.
Madeleine McCann was nearly four years old when she dissapeared from a holiday apartment in the Portugese resort of Praia da Luz in 2007.
He parents, Kate and Gerry McCann were dining nearby.
As they marked the sixth anniversary of her disappearance earlier this month, her parents Kate and Gerry McCann said they remained hopeful as ever as Operation Grange continued, and that police seemed "more determined than ever".
"In many ways things haven't changed and you could argue that, with the Met review two years in, we are actually in a better place because so much more information has been collated and lots of pieces of the jigsaw have been filled," said Mr McCann.
Mrs McCann, who recently returned to Portugal, said their family, including twins Sean and Amelie, now eight, had found a "new normality" since Madeleine's disappearance.
She encouraged anybody with any information to contact police, added: "'I think to encourage everybody, it's six years on, but the way the Met review is going is really positive and with that, new hope.
"The search goes on, in a major way."