Tom Swarbrick 10pm - 1am
Madeleine McCann investigators 'find hidden cellar in German suspect's allotment'
29 July 2020, 19:35
A hidden cellar has reportedly been found in an allotment formerly owned by the suspect involved in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
The area in Hanover - more than 1,700 miles from where Madeleine disappeared from - is close to where prime suspect Christian Brueckner previously lived in a camper van, according to local reports.
Detectives have been scouring the area since Monday, using excavators, sniffer dogs, shovels and rakes.
According to Sky News, police found the cellar as they dug a 15-metre wide hole.
German Police have yet to comment on the media claims a cellar has been found.
Madeleine disappeared from her bed in a holiday apartment at a Praia Da Luz resort in the Algarve region of Portugal on the evening of 3 May 2007.
The operation is understood to be a joint effort between the Braunschweig public prosecutor's office and the Federal Criminal Police Office.
A spokesman for the prosecutor's office said: "I do not comment on the background and aim of this measure."
Video footage appears to show heavy machinery and forensic officers at the scene of the search.
Julia Meyer, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office in Braunschweig, confirmed investigators with an excavator had been working at the site since Monday.
"The procedure is taking place in connection with our investigation regarding Maddie McCann," she said.
Ms Meyer added that she could not give any further details on the operation and that police would "still need some more time to finish."
The investigation into Madeleine's disappearance was renewed in June after German authorities announced they were investigating Brueckner - a convicted German child sex offender - on suspicion of murder.
He is known to have lived on the Algarve coast and his Portuguese mobile phone received a half-hour phone call in Praia da Luz around an hour before Madeleine, who was just three years old, went missing 13 years ago.
Brueckner is in jail in Germany for drug dealing, and is appealing against a conviction for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old woman, also at Praia da Luz.
The suspect has two previous convictions for "sexual contact with girls", authorities have said.
He was last registered as living in Germany in the city of Braunschweig, which is about 40 miles from Hannover.
Brueckner has not yet spoken to investigators, who say they are convinced that he has committed other sex attacks.