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Madeleine McCann police seek search site extension

By Jennifer Cockerell

British police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have applied to the Portuguese authorities to search an area of scrubland for an extra seven days.

Police had originally been given until Friday to conduct searches in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz, where the youngster went missing in May 2007, but it is now understood they will be able to remain on the site for an extra week, pending approval.

The development comes as officers spent a third day probing the site, with forensics officers concentrating on one area which was previously hidden by undergrowth and ground-penetrating radar equipment being used.

Scotland Yard refused to comment on the extension application, having said they will not provide a “running commentary” about the investigation.

The area being searched, which is a few minutes' walk from the Ocean Club resort apartment where Madeleine and her family were staying, saw officers focusing their investigations yesterday on a hole which had been previously covered by undergrowth.

Forensics teams donned overalls, gloves and face masks and could be seen going in and out of a white tent, which had been erected over the hole to shield their work from TV crews and reporters straining to get a look.

There were also unconfirmed reports that the resort's sewers were being investigated for clues.

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