Police Search Site Near Hanover As Part Of Madeleine McCann Investigation
Pictures taken at the scene show heavy machinery being used to dig and clear trees at the allotment where Christian B - the main suspect in the investigation - used to live.
Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt said: "It's a dramatic development. Police in Germany started digging an allotment area near Hanover this morning, where Christian B, the main suspect in the Madeleine McCann investigation lived for a period some years ago.
"The public prosecutor's office and the federal police have confirmed to local media and to our own reporter in Germany that this is connected to the Madeleine McCann investigation."
He continued: "Since this morning an area of trees has been cleared. Police are there, there are forensic officers there as part of this investigation. A mini excavator is being used to dig the land and there is some activity at least just off the side of the road there.
"It's not clear exactly what police are looking for, whether its potential evidence directly linked to the disappearance of Madeleine or whether its something that's more connected to Christian B the suspect."
Last month, German public prosecutors identified Christian B as McCann's suspected murderer.
Hans Christian Wolters, from the Braunschweig Public Prosecutor's Office, said in a press conference: "In connection with the disappearance of Madeleine Beth McCann on the 3 June 2007 in Praia de Luz, the public prosecution office has charged the suspect with murder.
"We assume that the girl is dead. It is a sexual offender that has been convicted several times also for a sexual abuse against children. He is currently in prison in a different matter.
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"Between 1995 and 2007 he spent time regularly on the Algarve. He spent time in a house between Lagos and Praia da Luz.
"As far as we know during that time in the area of Lagos he had several casual jobs, amongst others in catering.
"The suspect has admitted burglaries in the resorts and holiday flats and also drug dealing."
He also made a phone call on the evening of her death, and transferred ownership of a vehicle to another name the day after her disappearance.
Police have appealed for information relating to the suspect's VW T3 Westfalia camper van, as well as the Jaguar XJR 6 car he is known to have owned.
Speaking after the new suspect was announced, Madeleine McCann's parents Gerry and Kate vowed to never stop searching for answers.
In a statement, the McCanns said: "We welcome the appeal today regarding the disappearance of our daughter, Madeleine.
"We would like to thank the police forces involved for their continued efforts in the search for Madeleine.
"We will never give up hope of finding Madeleine alive but whatever the outcome may be, we need to know, as we need to find peace."
Featured Image Credit: PA