Searches are expected to begin on Tuesday as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, police in Portugal have confirmed.
A Policia Judiciaria statement said it is co-ordinating searches in the Algarve at the request of German police and in the presence of British officers.
An area near the Barragem do Arade reservoir, around 50km from Praia da Luz where Madeleine went missing in 2007, was being sealed off ahead of searches according to Portuguese news website SIC.
It said the prime suspect in her disappearance, convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner, spent time in the area between 2000 and 2017.
Investigators believe the 45-year-old killed Madeleine, then aged three, after abducting her from a holiday apartment.
Brueckner, who has denied involvement in the youngster’s disappearance, was identified as a suspect by Portuguese officials in June 2020.
He is facing charges in Germany over a number of separate sex offences allegedly committed in Portugal during that time.
German authorities were expected to release a statement about the search on Tuesday.
Images of Portuguese officers walking along dry tracks near the reservoir and sealing off areas with police tape emerged on Monday.
It is not the first time the reservoir has been searched.
In 2008, Portuguese lawyer Marcos Aragao Correia paid for specialist divers to check the waterway after he claimed to have been tipped off by criminal contacts that Madeleine’s body was in the reservoir.
The most recent search in Portugal in relation to her disappearance was in 2014, when British police were given permission to examine scrubland near where she vanished.
Earlier this month, Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry issued a short statement on their Find Madeleine Campaign website to mark the anniversary of her disappearance.
They said: “Today marks the 16th anniversary of Madeleine’s abduction.
Police investigating disappearance of Madeleine Mc…
“Still missing… still very much missed.
“It is hard to find the words to convey how we feel.
“The police investigation continues, and we await a breakthrough.”