Madeleine McCann vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal’s Praia da Luz in May 2007
Police have told the parents of Madeleine McCann that they are ‘hopeful’ for a result as they pursue two vital new leads.
The Operation Grange team, who had been thought to be focusing on just one, told Kate and Gerry during a meeting thought to be at their Leicestershire home, that they had ‘two specific and active’ lines of inquiry.
Kate and Gerry, both 50, are ‘greatly encouraged’ that Scotland Yard could finally be closing in on Maddie’s kidnapper after eleven-and-a-half years.
The Home Office last week announced it would grant an extra £150,000 to Operation Grange to keep the investigation going until spring next year. So far they have handed out £11.75 million of taxpayers’ money for the high-profile search.
A Whitehall source said: ‘Metropolitan Police officers had a sit-down meeting with Madeleine’s parents to tell them exactly where they were with their inquiries.
‘They informed them they had two specific and active leads that still needed to be chased and that although the investigation was taking longer than they initially thought officers said they were confident and hopeful they could get a result.’
Kate and Gerry, both 50, are ‘greatly encouraged’ that Scotland Yard could finally be closing in on Maddie’s kidnapper after eleven-and-a-half years
Police refuse to make public any clues about the suspects they are determined to track down for fear of them going to ground.
Three-year-old Maddie vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal’s Praia da Luz in May 2007. She had been left alone sleeping with her younger twin siblings while her parents were dining in a nearby tapas restaurant with friends.
The Home Office last week announced it would grant an extra £150,000 to Operation Grange to keep the investigation to find Maddie going until spring next year
Previously police confirmed they believed the blonde child was snatched by a paedophile gang who may have smuggled her over the border or grabbed during a botched burglary at the holiday complex.
They have also been keen to identify a woman in purple seen hanging around the holiday flat.
A senior Government source added: ‘Police seeking special grant funding have needed to justify exactly what the money would be spent on, who they are chasing and why.
‘They have had to outline their intended work in full detail and careful consideration has been given but we cannot divulge any aspects of that while there is an ongoing operation.’
Police advised the McCann’s there was still ‘important work left to be done’ as they requested extra funding, allaying the family’s fears that the London force’s seven-and-a-half year investigation could be shelved.
Kate and Gerry, who have 13-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, cling onto a glimmer of hope that Maddie, who would now be 15, could still be alive after all this time.
The McCann’s spokesperson Clarence Mitchell said the couple were ‘incredibly grateful’ and ‘greatly encouraged’ for the approved extra funding amid stringent Government and police cutbacks.
He said: ‘They are greatly encouraged that the Met Police still believe there is work left to be done in the search for their daughter and they remain incredibly grateful to the Home Office for providing an extra budget for the investigation.
Police advised the McCann’s there was still ‘important work left to be done’ as they requested extra funding
‘It is a boost the while family and gives them renewed hope that one day they may finally find out what happened to Madeleine.’
Mr Mitchell added: ‘Kate and Gerry appreciate everything the authorities have done and are doing to get a resolution after all this time. Beyond this they cannot comment on the ongoing operation.’
The extra cash – which has been slammed by a mother of another missing girl and outspoken TV and media personality Janet Street-Porter – will enable Grange to keep going until the end of March next year.
The Yard had applied for renewed funding in September but the Home Office only confirmed last Tuesday that it had been approved, as revealed by MailOnline.
The Find Maddie Campaign website, run by a family friend but endorsed by Kate and Gerry, has updated its cover photo with the word ‘hope’
Maddie’s parents, however, had been told weeks ago by police that they expected the grant to be made.
A spokesperson said: ‘We have confirmed that Special Grant funding of £150,000 will be provided to the Metropolitan Police Service for the six-month period to 31 March 2019. This is an ongoing police investigation.’
The British inquiry, launched in May 2011 after an initial bungled Portuguese investigation and the McCann’s own funded private eye searches, is spearheaded by Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Wall.
Kate and Gerry, who have 13-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, cling onto a glimmer of hope that Maddie, who would now be 15, could still be alive after all this time
A force spokesperson said: ‘We still have important work to do and focused lines of investigation to be pursued.
‘The inquiry has not reached a conclusion and we’re continuing with focus and determination. There are no immediate plans to reduce officer numbers further at this time.’
Ex-police chiefs and some members of public have slammed the Maddie inquiry as a waste of public money and officers’ time.
This week Karen Downs, whose 14-year-old daughter Charlene vanished from Blackpool, Lancashire, in November 2003, hit out at the ‘preferential’ treatment given to the McCanns, saying other missing kids were ‘simply being forgotten.’
Controversial Loose Women star Janet Street-Porter also slammed the fresh funding for the ‘fruitless search for Maddie’ in a MailOnline article, asking: ‘Isn’t it time we prioritised the children who are dying here and now today?’
She said: ‘The McCanns have consistently used emotional blackmail to ensure the government continues to fund a hopeless investigation at the expense of others. The next generation of young people need all their attention now.
‘Why does the search for Madeleine attract more resources than investigating the thousands of other children and teenagers who have gone missing in the UK in the last decade?’
Maddie’s parents have posted a simple but poignant message of hope as police pledge to find out what happened to their daughter.
The Find Maddie Campaign website, run by a family friend but endorsed by Kate and Gerry, has updated its cover photo.
The word ‘Hope’ written in yellow to symbolise the Portuguese colour of strength and solidarity against a vibrant background, is accompanied by a brief note to supporters: ‘We just want to thank you continuing to be by our side and keeping Madeleine in your heart.’
Well wisher Jean Payne responded: ‘Madeleine will always be remembered, and hope that one day you’ll all receive the good news that you’ve waited so long to hear.’
Mary Ann Baldie added: ‘Always thinking of her and her family not just her parents but grandparents, aunties, it must be hell on earth for them all.’
Micki Barnes posted: ‘Someone knows about Madeleine. It’s just a matter of time. OG must be getting nearer.’