A BRITISH paedophile – believed to have been in Portugal when Madeleine McCann went missing – has been arrested in Malta.

Roderick McDonald – who has also spent a decade on the run from police in Australia – is to be extradited back to the UK for raping a child under 13.

Police also believe the 76-year-old has information about the 2007 disappearance of three-year-old Maddie.

He will be quizzed about paedophile gangs operating in the Algarve region at the time of Maddie’s disappearance.

Originally from Aldershot, McDonald was also handed a six-month prison term for sexually assaulting a nine-year-old girl in Syndey, Australia, between 1998 and 1999.

He was arrested by New South Wales police at Sydney Airport in 2001, after arriving on a flight from Bangkok but skipped the country on bail.

In 2009, he was arrested in New Zealand over alleged child sex offences but again fled on a fake passport to Portugal.

He was arrested again in Portugal by Interpol in 2010, and was extradited to Australia.

He returned to Thailand after serving a brief sentence, and was arrested again by local police and returned to Brighton in the UK, where he allegedly again preyed on girls.

After again fleeing to Europe, he was eventually tracked to Malta this week.

Police probing 18 break-ins at Algarve villas by an intruder, between 2004 and 2010, claim the attacks stopped around the time McDonald was deported to Australia.

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