The parents of Madeleine McCann have been given a lifeline in the search for their daughter with a new £85,000 cash boost to police.
Kate and Gerry McCann tonight said they are “very grateful” for the continued support by Scotland Yard amid fears the controversial £13million investigation into Maddie’s disappearance, codenamed Operation Grange, was being shelved.
The couple face the agonising milestone 10th anniversary of their daughter’s abduction in just eight weeks.
A Met Police spokesperson confirmed the Home Office had approved the extra funding to continue inquiries for another six months.
But he refused to say if they were now trying to quiz one final Portuguese suspect, simply saying: “We are cracking on. The Operation Grange team are not prepared to discuss any lines of inquiry while the investigation is ongoing.”
The inquiry was launched nearly six years ago in May 2011 on orders of then-prime minister David Cameron , but has so far failed to unearth any new clues.
A close pal of former GP Kate, 49, and heart doctor Gerry said: “They have never given up hope of finding out what happened to Madeleine, and still believe she could be alive.
“They appreciate the Met Police’s help and know they are doing everyone possible for a resolution after all this time.”
Three-year-old Maddie vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal’s Praia da Luz nearly a decade ago in May 2007 while her parents were dining nearby with friends.
She would now be aged 13, nearly 14.
As time was believed to be running out on the slow-going investigation, a fresh injection of cash, approved last week by the Home Office of request of the police, is “ very welcoming”, the McCann source said.
The extra Scotland Yard money has been rubber stamped by PM Teresa May, who has met Maddie’s parents several times in the past in her former role as Home Secretary.
Britain’s top cop, newly-retired Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, told last summer how his officers were chasing up one “last throw of the dice” lead in their painstaking inquiries.
Mrs May had come to their rescue in April 2016, granting police an extra £95,000 to help keep the search going.
And now, a financial year on, her predecessor Home Secretary Amber Rudd has approved an extra £85,000 till early October – a noticeable £10,000 less after this week’s Budget woes.
Ex-police chiefs and some members of public have slammed the Maddie inquiry as a waste of taxpayers’ money and officers’ time despite it being drastically scaled down last year.
Four officers continue to work on the team, headed by Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Wall.
A force spokesperson said: “The inquiry has not reached a conclusion. There are still focused lines of investigation to be pursued. There are no immediate plans to reduce office numbers further at this time.”
Former police chief Sir Bernard recently said: “Either way we want to try and end the torture that Madeleine’s parents are going through.”
While still boss, he said: “I can’t be absolutely confident we will resolve it, 100 per cent. But we’ve made some really good progress on the lines of inquiry and I think we have a really good chance.”
Kate and Gerry, 48, from Rothley, Leicestershire, said in a previous posting on the official Find Maddie website: “Until we have answers, until there is news there will always be hope. Whist the investigation is never as much or as speedy as we, or the police would like, we are moving in the right direction.”
Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said tonight: “Kate and Gerry remain incredibly grateful to the Home Office and the Met Police for the continued work into the search for their daughter.”
He added: “But, like the police, they will not be commenting on any operational details.”