Police to quiz three drug dealers on missing Maddy
Three convicted drug dealers are among the eight potential suspects to be spoken to by Scotland Yard detectives in connection with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
British police have been given permission to interview eight possible suspects in Portugal.
Scotland Yard detectives will question the "persons of interest", which they have identified during a review of the seven-year-old case.
The men wanted for questioning include three convicted drug dealers who are thought to have been involved in burglaries in the area around Praia da Luz in the days leading up to Madeleine's disappearance.
Officers from Operation Grange sent a letter of request to Portuguese authorities earlier this year after identifying them from mobile phone records, which showed the three men had made calls to each other in the hours after the girl went missing on May 3, 2007.
Portuguese judicial authorities had previously blocked requests to search the homes of possible suspects and examine their bank accounts but yesterday Portuguese national broadcaster RTP reported that the go-ahead had now been given for those interviews.
One theory being explored by British police is that Madeleine was taken from the holiday flat after waking during a burglary and the perpetrators then disposed of her body.
Local sources said the possible suspects would not be questioned until detailed ground searches on three areas of scrubland around the resort of Praia da Luz have been completed.
British police teams joined Portuguese officers to begin the search of one scrubland area within the resort on Monday.
They have requested another seven days to complete their ground searches and are expected to extend their investigations to two other wasteland areas within the next week.
Scotland Yard refused to confirm or deny the next phase of investigations. "We will not provide a running commentary on the progress of an investigation." (© Daily Telegraph, London)