Madeleine Police Probe New Tip-Off
Updated: 09:08, Thursday June 14, 2007
Sniffer dogs have been brought in as Portuguese police consider a full-scale search of an area where it is claimed Madeleine McCann's body may be buried.
The location, which is nine miles from where the four-year-old disappeared, was pinpointed in a letter sent to a newspaper and passed on to the Policia Judiciaria.
But Clarence Mitchell, speaking on behalf of the McCanns, said: "There is no suggestion that this letter is any more credible than any other source and the McCanns are not planning to say anything about it."
The anonymous note is believed to have come from the same person who sent a letter leading police to the bodies of two murdered Belgian girls last year.
It claimed Madeleine's body lies buried under rocks and branches in deserted scrubland and was sent with a map marking the location with a cross.
It is thought to have directed police up a dirt track to an area north of Odiaxere, north east of Praia da Luz from where the girl was snatched 42 days ago.
According to De Telegraaf, the letter said Madeleine was buried "north of the road under branches and rocks, around six to seven metres off the road" in a barren and deserted landscape.
On Wednesday, around eight plain clothed police officers visited Arao, a small village 15kms away from Praia da Luz.
They spent an hour and 20 minutes looking at fields and the surrounding area ahead of possible searches.
Local translator Gaynor Jesus told Sky News: "Apparently the letter came from a medium who pinpointed the location of two murdered Belgian girls - I think this is the reason for such credibility.
"But in Portugal mediums' reports are filed away unless they have something specific police can go on - they have received hundreds reports.
"They are treating this report with extreme caution."
Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa added: "We are checking the information like we check everything in this case for importance."
Meanwhile, Madeleine's family announced that hundreds of yellow ribbons, cuddly toys and messages of support left at a memorial for the girl in her home town are to be cleared away.
A spokesman for the family said they will be stored away until the McCanns return to the UK and that the move is not a sign of giving up hope.