| 11.5°C Dublin

Madeleine McCann: Police start searching allotment in Germany close to home of suspect Christian Brueckner

Close

Still missing: The body of Madeleine McCann has never been found. Photo:  PA Wire

Still missing: The body of Madeleine McCann has never been found. Photo: PA Wire

Still missing: The body of Madeleine McCann has never been found. Photo: PA Wire

GERMAN police are searching an allotment in Germany in connection with the Madeleine McCann case.

Investigators are carrying out a large operation in an allotment in Hanover, Germany, close to the home of Christian Brueckner, the prime suspect in the case.

Brueckner is currently imprisoned but he spent time in Portugal in 2007, when Madeleine vanished.

German website Haz.de also reported that police are searching the Linden branch channel.

Images published by the newspaper show officers searching the area.

It’s understood the operation is between the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Braunschweig public prosecutor’s office.

A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office told the Daily Mirror: “I do not comment on the background and aim of this measure.”

The Star newspaper reported a sniffer dog has been utilised to help in the search.

According to Haz.de Brueckner has a criminal past based in Hanover and a local district court sentenced him for falsifying documents in 2010. In 2013, he was jailed for joint theft.

A number of forces are at the scene, including a prisoner transporter, the Star reported.

There are three police vehicles and a tent with observatory technologies has been set up.

It’s been reported police will remain at the scene until Wednesday.

Brueckner was identified by police last month as the prime suspect in the missing child case which has fascinated the world for over a decade.

However, there was not enough evidence to charge him in relation to the case.

Prosecutors have claimed he was near the Ocean Club complex in Praia da Luz, Portugal, about an hour before the child was suspected to have been snatched by an intruder.

German criminologist Mark T Hofman told the Sun newspaper there is “no doubt” Brueckner, a convicted paedophile, was at the scene.

“Mobile phone data proves he was by the apartments,” Mr Hofman said.

“Also his record fits the profile. I’m sure the prosecutor will pull an ace from up his sleeve and have more than we know so far.”

The child vanished on May 3, 2008, days before she was due to turn four-years-old.

Madeleine, who had a distinctive eye defect, was holidaying with her doctor parents, Gerry and Kate McCann and her 18-month-old twin siblings, Sean and Amelie.

The children were sleeping in the holiday apartment while their parents went for dinner nearby.

Madeleine, who has relatives from Co Donegal, was taken from the apartment by an intruder.

Brueckner has been alleged to have had a 30-minute phone call outside the apartment building before the child went missing.

Brueckner is in prison in Kiel, northern Germany, for raping a 72-year-old woman in Prai da Luz and for drug trafficking.

Online Editors