Madeleine McCann: UK police hunting new 'person of interest'
A SHOCKING new development has unfolded in the investigation of Madeleine McCann's disappearance - as cops are hunting a "person of significance".
A source close to Scotland Yard's search Operation Grange said the person is now a "critical line of inquiry" in the £12 million (AU$20.5 million) investigation, The Times reported.
The source told the newspaper: "It is as much to rule out the person out of the inquiry as anything else."
Madeleine vanished in May 2007, while on holiday with her family in Praia de Luz, Portugal.
The girl, who was then three, was left sleeping in a hotel with her siblings after her parents went for dinner.
Her parents Kate and Gerry McCann have since vowed to never give up on trying to find their daughter who would now be 14.
Kate said: "We will go on, try our hardest, never give up and make the best of the life we have."
The news comes days after cops received £154,000 to keep the investigation afloat.
The extra cash is set to fund the search until March next year.
Kate and Gerry were "extremely thankful to both the Home Office and Scotland Yard for the continued funding," their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said.
However it emerged in British press overnight that the Scotland Yard probe has never quizzed the McCanns nor their friends who they dined with the night Madeleine went missing.
The Met detectives have been relying on Portuguese transcripts of key interviews with British witnesses, and have never conducted their own.
Former Met detective chief inspector Collin Sutton, said: "I would conduct fresh interviews with all the key British witnesses. We're talking about interviews given by the McCanns and friends through an interpreter, written down in Portuguese and then translated back into English so officers from Grange can read them. The room for error would be enormous."
Operation Grange was launched in 2011 after the Portuguese-led investigation was shelved in 2008.
There have been more than 8,000 potential sights of the Brit three-year-old since her disappearance.
One of the most seriously regarded sighting was in Amsterdam, 2008.
Shopkeeper Anna Maria Stam told cops a three or four-year-old girl who resembled Madeleine, told her she was with a "stranger" who had taken her "away from mummy".