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The long-running, multi-million-dollar British police operation to find out what happened to Madeleine McCann is on the brink of shutting down, according to reports.
If correct, it may signal London Metropolitan Police detectives are unlikely to pursue a convicted pedophile who German prosecutors in 2020 sensationally claimed with “100 per cent” certainty had killed three-year-old Madeleine.

According to The Sun, the small team of detectives in Operation Grange will disband in about six months when the latest tranche of British taxpayer funding runs out.

British girl Madeleine McCann vanished from the resort town of Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007, while on holiday with her family.
British girl Madeleine McCann vanished from the resort town of Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007, while on holiday with her family. (AAP)

“There are currently no plans to take the inquiry further,” a source told the newspaper.

“The end of the road for Operation Grange is now in sight (and) the team’s work is expected to be completed by autumn”

When contacted by 9news.com.au, the London Metropolitan Police said “the investigation is ongoing”.

The Home Office, which funds Operation Grange, did not respond with comment.

Launched in 2011 to review and investigate Madeleine’s disappearance, Operation Grange has cost $23.4 million.

Operation Grange has over the years conducted extensive searches around the Portuguese resort town of Praia da Luz where Madeleine vanished in 2007 while on holiday with her family.

Divers have descended into ancient wells, land has been excavated and old farm buildings and ruins searched.

British police officers search an area of wasteland in 2014 during a search for evidence of Madeleine McCann in the town of Praia da Luz, Portugal where she went missing in May 2007.
British police officers search an area of wasteland in 2014 during a search for evidence of Madeleine McCann in the town of Praia da Luz, Portugal where she went missing in May 2007. (AAP)

No remains or clues indicating what happened to Maddie have ever been found.

In June 2020, new life was suddenly breathed into the world’s most famous cold case.

German prosecutors said they had “concrete evidence” that Christian Brueckner, a convicted child sex offender currently jailed for the rape of an elderly woman, murdered Madeleine 14 years ago.

The claim triggered a wave of headlines around the world.

However, almost two years later, Brueckner has never been charged.

He has denied any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance.

Christian Brueckner, a suspect in the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann
Christian Brueckner, a suspect in the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann. (Supplied)

Despite the Germans insisting Madeleine was killed by Brueckner in 2007, London’s Met Police and Operation Grange appeared to take a different, more measured view.

“We do not have definitive evidence whether Madeleine is alive or dead,” a London Metropolitan Police spokesperson told 9news.com.au in July 2020.

“The Met’s investigation is a missing person’s inquiry,” they continued.

And according to a Freedom of Information request filed by this reporter, the Senior Investigative Officer from Operation Grange made no trips to Germany in 2020 to interview a man the Germans had been strongly calling the new prime suspect.

An ex-top Scotland Yard homicide detective once tipped to lead Operation Grange claimed he received a phone call warning him not to take the job because he would be told where police could and couldn’t look.

Retired detective Colin Sutton said Operation Grange was “hobbled” from the start and its chances of finding out what happened to the missing girl were diminished.

The public remit for Operation Grange sought only to explore an abduction theory, with no other possibilities to be investigated.

During the original Portuguese police operation, Gerry and Kate McCann, Madeleine’s parents, were named as suspects.

Both denied any involvement in their daughter’s disappearance and they were never charged.

Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of the missing girl Madeleine McCann.
Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of the missing girl Madeleine McCann. (AAP)
Kate McCann, the mother of missing British girl Madeleine McCann, arrives at the police station in Portimao, southern Portugal, to be questioned in September 2007.
Kate McCann, the mother of missing British girl Madeleine McCann, arrives at the police station in Portimao, southern Portugal, to be questioned in September 2007. (AAP)

“I was privately told by a senior officer that it was going to be an investigation where you were told what things you could and couldn’t look at,” Mr Sutton said.

“The remit and the focus of Operation Grange has been so narrow that it probably was hobbled from the beginning and didn’t really have a chance at succeeding.”

Mr Sutton, who solved more than 30 murders for London Metropolitan Police, including famously catching English serial killer Levi Bellfield, said Operation Grange should have been launched from a blank canvas, with every possibility explored.

Over the years Operation Grange has given away little public information about its activities.

Source: 9News

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