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McCanns' hopes rise in new Maddie tip-off

SPANISH police are investigating a reported sighting of Madeleine McCann in a Costa del Sol resort.

Specialist officers are following up a tip-off received about 10 days ago that a girl resembling the missing English child was spotted in Nerja, 30 miles east of Malaga, sources said.

The possible sighting is being handled by special judicial police unit UDEV, the Malaga-based Sur newspaper has reported.

The McCanns' Portuguese lawyer Rogerio Alves has described the Portuguese police case review as a "very positive sign".

Resort

"Obviously the most plausible explanation for what's happening is that information passed to or acquired by the judicial police in Porto has put them on the trail of something specific," Mr Alves added.

The team, from the northern city of Porto, has been instructed to go over the thousands of pages of case files and search for new clues.

The officers are working with a Scotland Yard team set up in May last year to review the investigation into Madeleine's May 2007 disappearance from the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz.

It is understood that Scotland Yard detectives reviewing the case are liaising with their Spanish counterparts about the latest lead.

Madeleine was nearly four when she went missing from her family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on May 3 2007 as her parents Kate and Gerry McCann dined with friends nearby.

Grateful

There have been hundreds of possible sightings of her all over the world since she vanished, but so far they have all come to nothing.

Her parents are preparing to mark the fifth anniversary of her disappearance next month.

McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Kate and Gerry are aware of this particular report from Spain. It was absolutely right that the police investigate any potential lead.

"Kate and Gerry remain very grateful for the co-operation of the police in the search for Madeleine."

hnews@herald.ie

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