MADELEINE McCann cops searching at a lake were looking for key video evidence on a camcorder belonging to the prime suspect, a source claims.

Officers packed up their gear and removed samples for forensic lab tests at the end of three days scouring the banks at Portugal‘s Arade Dam.


Portuguese and German officers pack up as the search ended this afternoon[/caption]


Officers removed samples for lab tests in Germany[/caption]

The Sun

Police focused their hunt on a peninsula at the Arade Dam in Portugal[/caption]

The Sun

Search teams combed the beauty spot for three days[/caption]

The Sun

The operation has involved police from Portugal and Germany[/caption]

Convicted rapist Christian B, 45, is the prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case

Teams fine-tuned the focus of the hunt on a peninsula at a beauty spot prime that suspect Christian B called his “little paradise”

As the operation drew to a close at 4pm local time, German officers were seen waving to Portuguese counterparts as they left the site in people carriers and pickup trucks.

The search could yet yield vital clues, as samples were taken away along with soil which will be forensically analysed in Germany.

Experts said tell-tale traces could link Madeleine to prime suspect Christian B – who is feared to have taken her to the reservoir after snatching her in 2007.

But it may take weeks – or even months – of painstaking lab work to unearth a killer clue.

As the search wound down, a police source claimed German prosecutors had received a tip-off that vital evidence would be found there.

It is claimed they hoped to find a gun and a camcorder that were allegedly stolen by two of Christian B’s former pals.

The camera contains video evidence of him torturing and raping two victims, it is claimed.

And prosecutors reportedly hope there could also be images of Madeleine, who was snatched from her family’s Algarve holiday apartment in May 2007.

Key witnesses Manfred Seyferth and another man called Helge Busching have told investigators they broke into Christian B’s house weeks later.

He was in jail at the time of the burglary at his remote villa in Foral, 12 miles from the dig site.

A source close to the investigation told MailOnline: “Seyferth has told police that he and Busching found a video camera and a gun at the house after they broke in.

“When the video camera was played they said it showed a masked man carrying out a sex attack on a woman and the voice they heard was (Christian B’s).

“Seyferth said a gun was also found and that after finding the video camera they panicked, drove off and later threw both items in the lake.

“Seyferth has told investigators the material on the video tape was evil and if this can be found will be vital to building a case against (the suspect).

“Now another witness has come forward to confirm the story of the first two men and this has prompted intensification of the investigation.”

Activity was stepped up yesterday morning as Portuguese sources claimed a police informant revealed Christian B visited the dam site days AFTER Maddie vanished.

His tip-off – plus geolocation clues found in the convicted rapist’s vile stash of 8,000 of videos and images – is understood to have sparked the search.


Madeleine McCann went missing in May 2007[/caption]

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The search is claimed to have been prompted by a tip-off to cops[/caption]

The Sun

White tents pictured at the secluded site[/caption]

By lunchtime teams began pulling down white tents which appeared in the search area on Monday.

Vehicles were also seen being packed up with equipment as officers prepared to leave – including Germans facing a long drive home in convoy across Europe.

Head of Portuguese Madeleine investigation Helena Monteiro was also seen leaving, along with a sniffer dog team and machinery used to clear undergrowth.

Exclusive Sun drone footage and still images obtained after no-fly zone restrictions were lifted showed work being stepped up in the frantic final hours of the search.

Teams in overalls and rubber gloves were directed by a senior German officer and a photographer logging snaps of key clues.

A core team of around six searchers returned to a narrow strip of scrubland which appeared to have first been identified as an “area of interest” yesterday.

They appeared to be homing in on a spot where vital evidence or even a body may have been dumped.

Police have been spotted removing what appeared to be large brown evidence bags from the search site at Arade Dam, 31 miles from where Maddie was taken in Praia da Luz.

However, they have not revealed any information about what was found.

Activity was stepped up as Portuguese sources claimed an informant who knew Christian B gave cops a tip-off – and claimed he had been to the spot days AFTER Maddie vanished.

The tip-off – plus geolocation clues found in the convicted rapist and paedophile’s vile stash of 8,000 of videos and images – is understood to have sparked the search.

“Concrete” information from the former friend of the fiend is understood to have led dozens of officers to the remote site.

German, Portuguese and British police extended the hunt into a third day at the dam site near Silves in the hope of a fresh breakthrough.

Cops are understood to think it could be where Christian B may have tossed Maddie’s body or vital evidence into the water.

On the evening of day two teams clearly focused on a small patch of ground shrouded by trees and shrubs around 20 yards from the water line.

They returned early today working methodically at the spot with picks, shovels, rakes and trowels and appeared to be logging, photographing and measuring samples.

Our drone showed them clearly sifting earth for clues as soil samples were removed for closer inspection.

Soil was taken away in wheelbarrows as sources revealed it would be ferried back to Germany for weeks – or even months – of painstaking forensic analysis.

The ground would have been virtually at the water’s edge in May 2007 when the drought-hit reservoir was at normal levels.

And the level of focus shown suggested the team were acting on information directing them to a likely spot.

The search later widened to a hillside and the exposed reservoir bed where at least 20 cops with digging tools and equipment formed a line to comb the ground.

But by lunchtime, word spread that the hunt was being wound up and cops and helpers were seen dismantling white tents and moving equipment away from the site.

And shortly before the search broke for lunch, a tracked remote-controlled rotavator which had been used to clear ground was seen being ferried away from the site.

Portuguese “Forest Sappers” were yesterday drafted in to help scour nearby woodland at the site 45 minutes from the Praia da Luz holiday apartment where Madeleine was snatched in May 2007.

The sappers – who usually specialise in clearing scrubland to prevent forest fires – used rotavator-style machine to power through dense undergrowth.

It is understood search crews were asked to look for cloth and fibres – amid claims traces of Madeleine’s pink pyjamas were being sought.

German cops probing Christian B believe he may have taken Madeleine to the beauty spot after snatching her as her parents Kate and Gerry dined out.

And they remain convinced the convicted rapist and paedophile raped and killed her before dumping her body.

Christian B, 45, is currently in jail for the 2005 rape of an American pensioner in Praia da Luz, just yards from the McCanns’ apartment.

He also faces a string of other sex charges.

German police believe he killed Madeleine — but three years after announcing him as a suspect are no nearer to bringing charges.

His lawyer Freidrich Fulscher has insisted he had no involvement in the McCann case and is attempting to have it thrown out.

The Sun

Cops shifted their focus to a specific spot at the desolate site today[/caption]


Parents Kate and Gerry McCann holding up pyjamas similar to the ones Maddie was wearing the night she vanished[/caption]