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Madeleine police in search of the drains

By Jennifer Cockerell

British police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have been searching drains as the probe of scrubland close to where she went missing in Portugal seven years ago entered a fourth day.

A five-man team made up of British and Portuguese officers was seen lifting three manhole covers and lowering a camera attached to a long pole down them.

One of them wrote notes in a book as they looked inside, around 20ft from where ground-penetrating radar equipment has been used in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz. One of the men also lowered a tape measure into the drains, just inside the cordon set up around the area of scrubland.

Other officers spent the day working out of sight of the public's gaze, and the lenses of the TV crews and press who spent the day watching from the police cordon, which surrounds the site and is being guarded by armed officers day and night.

The search of the area for clues as to what happened to Madeleine, who disappeared aged three in May 2007, is likely to go into a second week after British police applied to the judiciary to spend an extra seven days there.

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