Madeleine McCann disappearance: German police keen to investigate 'excellent' new leads in Portugal - source

LONDON - MAY 16:  A picture of missing toddler Madeleine McCann is held by her aunt Philomena McCann as she gives television interviews after visiting  Parliament on May 16, 2007 in London. Madeleine McCann disappeared from a holiday complex in Praia da Luz, Portugal 13 days ago. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Philomena McCann
Photo credit: Getty Images

German police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are reportedly keen to return to Portugal after receiving "excellent" leads from British holidaymakers.

Reports claimed prosecutors were becoming more confident they will be able to charge suspect Christian Brueckner, who is currently in a German prison on unrelated offences, over the three-year-old's disappearance.

He is understood to have lived "on and off" in the Algarve area between 1995 and 2007 - the Portuguese region where Praia da Luz is located where McCann disappeared from in 2007.

Now, police hope to return to the resort McCann was last known to be at to follow up on new information they received.

"German officers think getting their team's boots on the ground would be a massive boost to the investigation," a source that is reportedly close to the case told The Sun.

"German detectives have received a lot of excellent information in the past few weeks, especially from British holidaymakers who were in Praia da Luz at the time of Madeleine's disappearance. 

"There are leads, tips and lines of enquiry from those witnesses that urgently needed to be followed up. That's why they want to return to Portugal as soon as possible to try and move forward in the investigation."

But The Sun reports that German authorities returning to Portugal is unlikely to go down well with police there since the two countries' police teams don't have a good relationship.

A source in Portugal's Algarve region said the two teams working together would be ideal.

"But the reality is here in Portugal the police simply don't believe that Brueckner did this," they told The Sun.

Kate and Gerry McCann.
Kate and Gerry McCann. Photo credit: Getty Images

Brueckner was identified as a suspect in June. He's currently serving a 21-month prison sentence for an unrelated drugs matter, and in January will start a seven-year sentence for raping a 72-year-old woman in Praia Da Luz in 2005.

The London Metropolitan Police are still treating McCann's case as a missing person, even though German prosecutors believe she is dead.

Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said on Thursday their position hadn't changed since summer when she said its investigation remained a missing person inquiry since there is no "definitive evidence whether Madeleine is alive or dead".

She said a small team of Metropolitan Police investigators is still working "very closely" with police in Germany and Portugal.

"We will continue until the time that it is right, either because much more light has been thrown on this or somebody has been brought to justice," she said.

"Or if we feel we have exhausted all possible opportunities. We're not at any of those stages at the moment, and the team continues."