THE parents of Madeleine McCann last night welcomed news that detectives from Scotland Yard had identified a number of suspects who could be responsible for their daughter's abduction.
Detectives conducting a review of the case have produced a list of people who they say are of "interest to the inquiry" and should be questioned.
Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell, the head of Scotland Yard's Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said the Portuguese authorities should now re-open its investigation into Madeleine's disappearance six years ago.
He said the Met's review, dubbed Operation Grange, had identified "both investigative and forensic opportunities" and said the people of interest could be explored further, if only to be eliminated.
Gerry and Kate McCann expressed their gratitude and said they were encouraged by the developments.
Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Kate and Gerry remain very, very pleased with the work that Scotland Yard are doing and have been encouraged by Operation Grange.
"Beyond that, they simply will not comment on what are police operational matters."
Madeleine went missing in Portugal on May 3, 2007.
Her disappearance became the subject of intense international publicity, but no sign of her was ever found and the Portuguese police shelved its investigation amid much criticism in 2008.
In 2011, following a campaign by the McCann family, Prime Minister David Cameron ordered a review of the investigation to be led by Scotland Yard.
DCS Campbell praised the progress made by the team and said it had done a "fantastic" job identifying further investigative and forensic opportunities.
He said it was "perfectly probable" that information that could identify the suspect responsible for Madeleine's disappearance was already within the Portuguese files.
He added: "We have to ask ourselves why are cases unsolved? And, on many occasions, we find we passed the suspects by already and the suspect sits within our system.
"The purpose of the review was to look at the case with fresh eyes and there is always real benefit in doing so. The review has further identified both investigative and forensic opportunities to support the Portuguese."
The Scotland Yard review is estimated to have cost around £2m (€2.3m).