LONDON, England (CNN) -- An English girl has been missing from a
Portugal resort for more than a week, leaving anguished parents and an angry
British media staking out Portuguese border crossings.
"Words cannot describe the anguish and despair that we are feeling,"
said Madeleine McCann's father, Gerry McCann.
"Please, please, do not hurt her. Please do not scare her, please tell us
where to find her," the girl's mother, Kate McCann, said in a video plea
for the girl's release.
Portuguese police are defending their search for Madeleine, who turns 4 on
Saturday. Police say she was abducted from her parent's resort apartment in Portugal's Algarve. The McCanns had left their
daughter in bed as they dined nearby.
Portugal's ambassador to Britain,
Antonio Santana Carlos, released a statement saying, "Trust the
authorities. They're doing their best."
But British media filming roadblocks on Portugal's
border with Spain
caught police sitting in their cars and waving vehicles by during a recent
"Clueless" was a front page headline in London's Daily Mirror newspaper earlier this
Andrew Forrester, from Wales,
was helping search for Madeleine and found the effort of Portuguese police
"To be honest, it seems as though there is very little going on," he
said. "I'm sure they are trying, but the police presence doesn't seem to
be massive, which I thought that maybe it would be."
Portuguese police said they were following procedures and that they operated
differently than their counterparts at Scotland Yard.
"Some details can't be brought to the public because of the law. I ask the
British people to understand things are not equal between UK and Portugal legal systems," said
Olegario Sousa, a chief inspector with the Portuguese police.
Armando Ferreira, president of the National Police Union, also defended the
"Portuguese police are making a great effort. I have colleagues volunteering
during their days off to help," he said, according to a Reuters news
"We're doing everything to find the child alive," Reuters quoted Portugal's
President Anibal Cavaco Silva as saying.
British soccer star David Beckham weighed in on the case Friday, making a video
plea for information that could lead to the girl's safe return to her parents.
"Please, please help us," Beckham pleads as he holds up a missing
person poster for Madeleine.
While the British press was critical of the police efforts, the girl's family
spared police of any criticism concerning the search.
"They're not trying to do a bad job," he said of police.
"They're working very hard, they're giving information when it's
appropriate. Let's give them our support."