THE search for Madeleine McCann has gone all around the globe and is now returning to where to all began.

Scotland Yard detectives have been granted permission by Portuguese authorities to begin excavating three key sites in the Algarve holiday resort where she vanished in 2007.

The searches will begin within weeks.

But a former senior detective, based in Spain, who doesn’t want to be named, told the Olive Press that he believes the operation has been planned for a very long time.

“Military helicopters are not just hired by the hour on the spur of the moment, like catamarans on the beach,” he said.

“The whole thing has been approved at a very high level. By which I mean government.”

The former career detective, now based in Andalucia, continued: “This isn’t just any other search. Someone must have spelled out exactly what they want to look for, exactly where they want to look, and exactly why.

“And this must have been agreed as a viable and useful thing to do by the entire chain of command.”

The operation comes just days after the seventh anniversary of Maddie’s disappearance, on May 3.

Gerry and Kate McCann, both 45, are fully informed about the developments in the hunt for their daughter, but will not be travelling to the resort while the work is carried out.

One of the key areas to be searched is a patch of wasteland, about the size of three football pitches, across the road from where the McCanns were staying – at the Ocean Club.

Another area is the tapas bar where they were dining when three-year-old Maddie disappeared.

The overgrown area, beside a school, was an open expanse at the time but is now fenced off.

Aerial photographs are set to be taken of the area, to assess the land, while officers on the ground will look for disturbances of rocks, excess soil and moved vegetation.

The searches will be conducted by Portuguese police, with British detectives on site alongside them.

While there has long been speculation that Maddie could have been taken across the border into Spain, the case has now decisively returned to Portugal.

The Olive Press was the first newspaper on the scene following her disappearance.

Editor Jon Clarke was asked to cover the story by The Daily Mail, Sun and Mirror, while they scrambled to send their own reporters out.

Some of the paper’s key findings was the level of slackness surrounding the initial search.

Numerous people, including neighbour and former suspect Robert Murat, were able to traipse around the crime scene unimpeded, while sniffer dogs did not even arrive until around 4pm the following day.

Incredibly on the morning after her disappearance, workmen were even allowed to continue digging up a trench in the road right outside her rental home.

It soon emerged that none of the cameras on the motorway to Spain, where it was believed Maddie could have been taken, were working.

“The whole operation was a complete shambles from the beginning,” explains Clarke. “To say the police were half asleep would be an under-statement.”

In an open letter to the media, Met Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said: “This case has for some time been moving towards increased action in Portugal.

“Whilst the process is more bureaucratic and slower than we would wish, I now believe that activity will occur in forthcoming weeks.

“The most important task for me is to build momentum and protect our investigation in order that we can do everything possible to solve the case.”

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  1. Charming Rose !!
    After 7 years you have a suspicion?If ANYONE and I mean ANYONE has any thing to add to help the Police (and the Family) they should be shouting it from the rooftops not hiding behind a newspaper and coyly saying “I have my own Suspicion” Oh by the way goody goody your happy with this positive news, If you had come forward years ago who is to know the whole case may have been resolved by now.

  2. JOHN BRIGGS – One man who had his own suspicions and voiced them, was sentenced to three months imprisonment and had a third of his Old Age Pension taken from him – for the rest of his life – by the McCanns. Even though his suspicions were exactly in line with what the PJ and the Legal Authorities in Portugal had said. Perhaps that is why people have been reluctant to speak out – including the papers, incidentally. There is a lot of treading on egg-shells.

  3. Your commenter PM is of course the ‘ex detective’ mentioned in the above article, which very many of the people following the case are well aware of. I think it’s time you gave his views less air time, because he is anything but a dispassionate observer. The Olive Press is sullying its reputation for fair and unbiased journalism by using him as a source as he is known for his extremely biased views on all things McCann.

  4. Ex Detective? Why not B & B owner?(Which he is now). Doesn’t sound so good does it. One wonders why Ex Detective? Early retirement? Why? Especially as he thinks he is so knowledgeable about crime.
    The Ex Detective moniker does not mean PM has anymore insider information than any other forum user following this sad case.
    As to you the Olive press, I agree with Callie you do yourselves no favours letting him behave this way and then letting him comment as PM praising his own “insight” on this case.

  5. PM (your anonymous source) is far from a “senior detective”.
    He is not of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts.

    The man PM in his comment is talking about is Tony Bennett.
    TB has been convicted of contempt of court at the High Court in London.
    Bennett, who is behind the Madeleine Foundation, was given a three-month prison sentence, suspended for a year.

    He was also ordered to pay Kate and Gerry McCann’s court costs.

  6. Say what you like about P.M. but I for one, would not only trust him with my life, I would also trust him to look after my kids any day of the week.

    B&B, more like a 5* sanctuary with the best hospitality ever!

    Viva Portugal.

  7. The reality is that anyone with “suspicions” are voicing something they know nothing about.

    Unless they have evidence of something they should keep quiet and keep the guessy games at bay.

    Anyone can say:ooohh I have a suspicion but I know absolutely nothing about it because I am a gossip girl

  8. Comments above refer rather vaguely to the “Facts”. The fact that the shutters were broken open, or the fact that they were not ? The fact that the curtains were wide open, or the fact that they were tightly closed ? The fact that the curtains “Whooshed” in sudden gusts of wind and the door slammed, or the fact that the wind was a light Force 3, with no gusts ? Finding the facts of this case has caused two police Forces considerable problems, but people are obviously entitled to believe whatever they want and to ignore any facts which do not support their point of view. Like the dogs’ alerts.

  9. Isn’t it better we don”t indulge the Olive Press,for writing speculative articles. If they carry on doing that, they are likely to scupper the ongoing investigations for Kate and Gerry, single handedly! The least said, the better. I know we are all desperate to know what happened, but to speculate just sounds like a headless chicken running amok and, when the investigation is already handling a situation as carefully as possible, it’s likely to do more harm than good.

  10. The headline for this article is highly misleading as it makes readers think that these words come from a detective on this case. Instead it is guesswork from an expat who once worked as a policeman and has no specialist about this case or any similar cases. What us more, a quick google reveals this man is posting the same rubbish on a hate site which has now stated its members need to think of ways to halt the investigation. Given it has been announce Portugal may halt the investigation if there are leaks to the press it seems they have found a good way to try to stop the investigation, get a member to give false information to the press posing as an ex detective.
    For anyone interested this man has made some revolting comments about madeleine mccann, katrice Lee and april Jones ( going as far as to write a comedy sketch). He also appears in a YouTube video showing people how to open the shutters in flats where Madeleine disappeared, from outside.
    He does not tell the truth about the case and supports other who do the same. The man he defends in his first post did not voice suspicions he wrote a pack of lies, labelled them as facts and posted them around the mccanns village, then promised a court he would stop lying about the mccanns. When he broke the agreement he was sentenced to three months SUSPENDED for contempt of court.
    Shame on the olive press for helping this hate forum in their goal of hindering the investigation into the disappearence of a child.

  11. I have tried to tell “Authorities” of UK & Portugal many times of Maddie’s location, but maybe I shouldn’t have bothered. They seem to need to follow ancient ‘procedures’ in their quest.
    They will not find her here, but will at least eliminate these sites. Perhaps one day they will have a rethink & look where I told them. It is the ONLY way they will succeed.

  12. FYI the Olive Press is not supporting PM’s personal views at all… Indeed we openly disagree… Having investigated this case ourselves (on 4 trips to Praia) we believe the parents are innocent…
    However on this very point he, as does anyone, has a right to his view and, read again please, these are not crazy unsubstantiated claims. And the comments are being modified and this stream will be shut down if it sinks further into a slanging match.
    PM’s comments are relevant as he lives in Spain, actually was a senior police executive for many years and we have never heard he was disgraced in any way. He also runs a solid business, pays his taxes and mostly behaves himself, we understand!

  13. Ben, I have revisited the location since finding and reporting it in 2009. I showed local police, phoned Leics. police, various newspapers purporting to be running a ‘Find Maddie’ campaign, Interpol etc.
    I also emailed the Chief Constable of Leics. Constabulary and wrote to Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown MP, (Then PM).
    In 2010 I went to the Portimao HQ of the Policia Judiciaria and spelled it out to them.
    Last year I went back to the place with the intention of digging myself, but there is now a huge deposit of earth covering the garden to a depth of 10 feet! I regret I’d described the place to someone I met on holiday who new the area & he may have alerted the landowner.
    Of course, photos were sent to Op. Grange, but decisions rest with them.

  14. I sincerely regret the fact that nobody speak out, no witnesses at all. At this point of the investigation and so many yrs passed bye. Madeleine whereabouts is a complete mystery. Her sad history is like a puzzle that no one could solve 7 years ago and I do not think that can be solved now, unless by some sudden lucky event, like the girls case in Ohio. I pray to hear a positive news about Maddie. Death penalty for child molesters!

  15. To Ben. I followed-up visual clues around the house that helped identify it, from the timber construction to the views from the upstairs room. There were views of distant mountains and nearby terain had the look of foothills but gently sloping. The ‘localizer’ was a nearby forested scene showing a narrow road with a snow-capped peak at the horizon which glowed in the setting sun.
    I am a pilot, so am well used to checking ground features against maps and finding orientation of same.
    When I found this place, (after a week of searching), it left no room for doubt because of all the unique fearures coming together.
    There is no place on Earth quite like it.
    Further: why would anyone fill an entire garden with earth at such a slope that you cannot stand on it?

  16. To Jon Clarke:
    The Madeleine Mccann case is not a matter for belief, the police are gathering evidence and following leads, building a case based on facts.
    The media, specially the UK based media, have until now lacked the courage to report the facts to their readers. Instead they’ve chosen to whitewash the whole affair by ignoring the original police files available to anyone online!
    The british public is continuously being bullied and persuaded by the media to believe in an abduction fairy tale simply because it sells more and for longer than the truth. This goes against the ethical duty of a journalist to report the facts.
    The SY will only be present alongside the portuguese police IF a judge allows them to. This is Portugal not a third world country!

  17. Adrian, so if this was true then who is the killer? Someone who owns the garden?

    You could equally ask why would someone raise attention to the garden by changing it so dramatically.

    I couldn’t possibly hope to understand why the timber construction, and the view out of the window would help you locate a dead body, but it’s good that you told the authorities anyway.

  18. Adrian,

    Why are you rearing over to Amsterdam, when you’ve already said its under a garden piled 10ft with soil….

    She can only be in one spot.

    So I revert back to my original comment that anyone commenting on the case is just speculating and should not talk as though their knowledge is fact.

  19. At Amsterdam she was ALIVE, as she was further south. The link was the woman seen by Anna Stam. I saw her near the house in question.
    This is not speculation. My information checks out and is as reliable as any eye-witness.
    I am not going to argue further. My point is that this line of enquiry has not been followed-up, yet is the most likely to bring a conclusion to this case.
    It is time it reached the public domain. Too much has remained hidden behind secrecy rules.

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