Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are to carry out searches in a reservoir in Portugal.

A search of the Arade dam will begin on Tuesday, 50km from where the toddler went missing in Praia da Luz in 2007, first reported by local media.

Christian Brueckner, 45, was made a formal suspect, or an “arguido”, by Portuguese prosecutors in 2022.

The search was requested by German police as the area was visited by Brueckner when she disappeared.

Three-year-old Madeleine, from Rothley, Leicestershire, was on holiday with her family in Praia da Luz, in Portugal’s Algarve when she went missing on 3 May 2007.

German authorities would not officially confirm news of the police search, but indicated the media reports were correct.

Hans Christian Wolters, German state prosecutor in Braunschweig, told the BBC a short statement of confirmation would be released on Tuesday morning.

Brueckner, who is currently in a German prison for the rape of a woman in Portugal in 2005, has never been charged over Madeleine’s disappearance and has denied any involvement.

But Mr Wolters is treating Brueckner as the main suspect in the McCann case.

Brueckner, a German national, lived near the Praia da Luz resort when the McCann family was on holiday.

He spent time in the area between 2000 and 2017.

Scene near the reservoir in Portugal
Image caption,Police have been seen at the remote reservoir in the Algarve, a site 50km away from where Madeleine disappeared

An area of the reservoir’s peninsula just over a mile long was sealed off by police shortly after midday on Monday, Portuguese television network SIC reported.

Blue tents have been erected near the site to conduct the search on Tuesday and Wednesday, it said.

It is not the first time the reservoir has been searched as part of the investigation.

In 2008, Portuguese lawyer Marcos Aragao Correia paid for specialist divers to check the waterway after he claimed to have been tipped off by criminal contacts that Madeleine’s body was in the reservoir.

The most recent search in Portugal in relation to Madeleine’s disappearance was in 2014, when British police were given permission to examine scrubland near where she vanished.

Portuguese police officer rolls out police tape to cordon off scene
Image caption,Police have cordoned off a stretch of the reservoir to conduct the search

Earlier this month, Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry, held a vigil to mark the 16th anniversary of her disappearance.

They also marked their daughter’s 20th birthday in May, vowing to “never give up” on finding their daughter.

“Happy birthday Madeleine. Still missing. Still very much missed. Still looking. For as long as it takes,” they said in a post on the official Facebook page of the Find Madeleine Campaign.

“We love you and we’re waiting for you. We’re never going to give up.”