Scotland Yard has reportedly been given more money to investigate an “important” new lead into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Metropolitan Police detectives are said to be looking into a tip that a gang of European traffickers snatched the three-year-old from her family’s Portuguese holiday apartment in 2007.
Senior Whitehall officials have been briefed by the Met on its progress, The Sun on Sunday reports.
The lead is said to be the “last throw of the dice” in the investigation.
A source told the newspaper: “This is an important new line of inquiry which could provide an explanation on whether Madeleine was abducted and transported away.
“It raises hope that she could still be alive.”
Current funding for the investigation is understood to allow it to run until April, when it is due for review again.
Operation Grange was launched five years ago after Madeleine vanished at the age of three, while on holiday with her parents and despite a high-profile hunt, no trace has ever been found.
In April, the head of the Metropolitan Police Sir bernard Hogan-Howe said the probe wasexpected to end within months.
The Home Office granted a further £95,000 in funding to keep the investigation going for another six months.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police told The Independent: “The Operation Grange team are not prepared to discuss any lines of inquiry whilst the investigation is ongoing.”