Home World Only four police officers are now investigating Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, the Met reveals.

Only four police officers are now investigating Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, the Met reveals.

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Madeleine McCann (pictured) disappeared from a holiday apartment in Portugal seventeen years ago. Only a small team of UK police officers are still working on the case.

Only four UK police officers continue to investigate the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, as the Met reveals resources have been reduced by 90 per cent.

Only three UK police officers and one civilian member of staff continue to work on the case part-time, the force revealed today.

It comes as Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann celebrated their daughter’s 21st birthday today with a heartbreaking message.

The message on the Find Maddie campaign’s Facebook page read: “Happy 21st birthday, Madeleine.” She is still missing. Still missed. Keep searching.’

Despite the reduction of the police operation, private investigator Julián Peribáñez has revealed that he is returning to the family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, where Madeleine disappeared 17 years ago.

Madeleine McCann (pictured) disappeared from a holiday apartment in Portugal seventeen years ago. Only a small team of UK police officers are still working on the case.

Kate and Gerry McCann appeal for the return of their three-year-old daughter Madeleine in 2007 (pictured)

Kate and Gerry McCann appeal for the return of their three-year-old daughter Madeleine in 2007 (pictured)

A view of the apartment block where Madeleine McCann disappeared from in 2007, in Praia da Luz, on Portugal's Algarve coast.

A view of the apartment block where Madeleine McCann disappeared from in 2007, in Praia da Luz, on Portugal’s Algarve coast.

Peribañez was part of the Method 3 firm hired by Madeleine’s parents in 2007 to explore potential leads that were not being investigated by Portuguese police.

DCI Mark Cranwell, who is overseeing the British investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, told MailOnline: ‘We continue to support Madeleine’s family to understand what happened on the night of 3 May 2007 in Praia da Luz.

‘Our thoughts remain with the family. ‘

On that fateful day, May 3, 2007, Gerry and Kate had left their three children, including twins Sean and Amelie, asleep in their holiday apartment while they ate in a tapas bar 120 meters away.

When Kate returned to see the children around 10pm, she discovered that Madeleine was not in her bed and had disappeared.

British police initially investigated the case before it was dropped in July 2008 due to lack of evidence.

Gerry and Kate McCann (pictured) read a statement to the press following the disappearance of their daughter in 2007.

Gerry and Kate McCann (pictured) read a statement to the press following the disappearance of their daughter in 2007.

The family kept the case open with private detectives until Scotland Yard opened its own investigation in 2011.

Operation Grange was launched at the request of the then Home Secretary, Teresa May, and involved, in the first instance, a review of all investigations that had previously been carried out.

In July 2013, the status of the Met’s investigations changed to investigative, working with Portuguese authorities to pursue specific lines of inquiry.

But according to The expressIn 2015 there were only 29 agents working on the case.

A Met spokesperson told the newspaper: “The number of staff members of the investigation team is always under review and adapted according to new information arriving or new lines of inquiry.”

Gerry and Kate McCann have not commented on the investigation because it is an “active police investigation”.

German police are currently investigating the main suspect and convicted sex offender, 47-year-old Christian Brueckner.

Christian Brueckner, 43, a convicted German pedophile, was previously named as the man suspected of kidnapping and murdering Madeleine McCann.

Christian Brueckner, 43, a convicted German pedophile, was previously named as the man suspected of kidnapping and murdering Madeleine McCann.

He is currently serving a prison sentence for raping a woman in Praia de Luz in 2005 and is suspected of having committed other crimes between 2000 and 2017.

The attacks took place just minutes from where three-year-old Madeleine disappeared from her holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, in the Algarve.

German police sensationally named Brueckner as the man responsible for Madeleine’s “kidnapping and murder”, but he has not yet been charged with anything related to her disappearance.

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