POLICE divers are preparing to search a reservoir in Portugal for missing British toddler Madeleine McCann.
The German investigators have been given permission for a 48-hour search of the Barragem do Arade reservoir, near Silves.
The isolated spot – around 50 kilometres from the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz, where Maddie disappeared aged three in 2007 – was a regular hideout of German suspect Christian Brueckner at the time.
A total of 10 German officers from the crack BKA unit based out of Wiesbaden will be joined by between ‘two to three’ officers from the UK, the Olive Press can reveal.
The area, which has twice been the focus of earlier searches, will be combed by Portuguese police, while divers are being supervised by a team of German technicians.
The search will begin at dawn and has a two-day time limit that can be extended if anything of interest is found.
German police sources told the Olive Press the search was called ‘over a month ago’ after a ‘very credible’ new tip came in to prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters, in Braunschweig.
“The tip came in really recently and prosecutor Wolters believed it because the source also provided evidence,” he said.
Wolters himself told the Olive Press this afternoon, that he ‘couldn’t officially confirm anything’, but promised he would issue a press release tomorrow morning.
The tip comes via a lawyer, Marcos Teixeira da Fonte Aragao Correia, whose client is an underworld figure, who ‘knew exactly what happened to Maddie’.
The lawyer, based on the Algarve, had previously named the spot and privately funded a search there in 2008.
Incredibly, he had also represented the mother of another missing girl, Joana Cipriano, who was found guilty of killing her daughter and then absolved after spending over a decade in prison.
Young Joana, 8, had mysteriously gone missing from her home in Figueira, a small village just over 10 miles from Praia da Luz, in 2004.
A body has never been found, while Figueira sits less than 20 miles from the Arade reservoir.
Intriguingly, lawyer Correia was highly critical of the original police investigation in the Maddie case, led by senior detective Gonzalo Amaral.
It led to him being sued for libel by Amaral – who has controversially blamed the McCanns for the crime – but he won.
Amaral had also controversially been behind the investigation of missing Joana, but eventually was found guilty of perjury and covering up for his officers, who illegally beat a false confession out of the missing girl’s mother.
The remote area earmarked for the search tomorrow is known to have been a favourite haunt of suspect Brueckner, who allegedly dubbed it his ‘little paradise’.
Portuguese police are expected to close roads to the dam, with police tents already pitched today in preparation for the search.
Local reports say that most of the search – around 80% – will focus on land bordering the reservoir, with around 20% of the effort going to specialised divers who will examine the gloomy waters.
This is the first major search since 2014 when British police were given permission to dig in Praia da Luz using specially trained sniffer dogs and ground penetrating radar.
The latest investigation is being described as German-led with their Portuguese colleagues providing logistical support.
Brueckner is currently in prison serving seven years for the sadistic rape on video of an American pensioner, 72, also in Praia da Luz.
He is an official ‘arguido’, or suspect, in the Maddie case and faces five other charges for rape and child molestation in Portugal this year.