Detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have been granted additional funding to hunt a new “person of significance”.
The Home Office has allocated an extra £154,000 to Scotland Yard to pursue a “critical line of inquiry” and extend the search for the girl, who went missing during a family holiday in Portugal in 2007.
The funding means Operation Grange, the Metropolitan Police’s inquiry into Madeleine’s disappearance, will continue until the end of March 2018.
Four Scotland Yard detectives are currently working on the case.
The force launched Operation Grange six years ago following criticism by British authorities of the Portuguese investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance.
The extra funding brings the total cost of the Met’s inquiry to £11.3m.
“It is as much to rule the person out of the inquiry as anything else,” a source told the Sunday Times.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Following an application from the Metropolitan Police, the Home Office has confirmed funding for Operation Grange until the end of March 2018.
“As with all applications, the resources required are reviewed regularly and careful consideration is given before any funding is allocated.”
Three-year-old Madeleine vanished from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal on 3 May, 2007.
Her disappearance sparked one of the most high-profile, and costly, police investigations of recent times.
In 2015 Scotland Yard cut the number of detectives working on the case from 29 to four.
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