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Original Source: STAR: WEDNESDAY 18 APRIL 2012
18th April 2012  By Jerry Lawton, Chief Crime Correspondent

POLICE searching for Madeleine McCann were last night probing a fresh sighting.



Spanish officers swooped on Nerja on the Costa del Sol after a tip-off from colleagues in Portugal. 


Detectives are understood to have received details from an informant about a girl resembling Madeleine spotted in the town, which is home to 3,000 expat Brits.  


The development came after police in Portugal and the UK recently launched separate reviews of the original case.  

Madeleine’s doctor parents Kate, 44, and Gerry McCann, 43, were last night “grateful” police had acted on the tip-off. 


Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: “Kate and Gerry are aware of this report. They remain grateful that the police are liaising with other authorities and continuing to investigate reports of sightings where appropriate.


“We cannot say anything further as it is now a police operational matter.” Scotland Yard officers have also been informed of the sighting.


Madeleine, who would now be eight, was snatched from a holiday apartment in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in May 2007 while her parents dined with pals in a nearby tapas bar. 



Last night a source in Nerja, near Malaga, told the Daily Star: “An email requesting help regarding a sighting of a girl resembling Madeleine McCann was received from Portuguese police around 10 days ago.


“The contents of the email have not been widely divulged. 


“Spanish police are more secretive than police in places like Britain and this sort of information is not the sort they’d want to put into the public domain. 


“The unit that received the request has total autonomy to use their own officers on inquiries and not involve other police forces or even inform them if they go on to their patch. They specialise in missing persons inquiries.  


“It would be totally normal for them to keep things in-house and not involve officers outside of their unit.”  


Best known for its famous caves, Nerja is home to 23,000 people, although its population more than doubles in summer. Around 30% are foreigners many of whom are Brits. 


Town hall spokesman Antonio Gallardo said: “We haven’t been informed by anyone officially about this sighting.  


However, we urge anyone with any relevant information about Madeleine to assist in the search for her by contacting authorities.” 


A spokesman for Portugal’s Policia Judiciaria said: “We would not comment on something like this.” 


And a spokesman for Spain’s National Police also said they had no comment to make.


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