Officers working on Operation Grange and hunting for even the tiniest of clues as to the fate of Madeleine McCann have been granted a six month extension before the case finally is shelved.
A Home Office allocation of £85,000 for ‘operational costs’ will extend the work from its planned end date in April, to September 2017.
Madeleine McCann disappeared from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in May 2007 and, if still alive, will be 14 in May this year.
Since 2011, the Metropolitan Police has been involved in the search for clues and the investigation of suspects after the girl's disappearance.
A Home Office spokeswoman commented, "Following an application by the Metropolitan Police for Special Grant funding, the Home Office has confirmed £85,000 in operational costs for Operation Grange for the period 1 April until September 2017.
"As with all applications, the resources required are reviewed regularly and careful consideration is given before any new funding is allocated."
Additional funds were allocated to this operation last December to keep a small team of officers on the case until April this year. At that time there was talk of an exciting new lead that was said to back up the theory that Madeleine was kidnapped by a gang of ‘European traffickers,’ but there has been no subsequent comment from the Met on this, or any other aspect of the case.
The December 2016 ‘development’ was referred to by senior police as the 'last throw of the dice' in an inquiry that has produced plenty of drama, recrimination and accusation but no Madeleine - dead or alive.
The then Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe announced last May that Operation Grange would come to an end after an important 'new line of inquiry' was looked into: it has not ended but there is not accompanying statement from the Metropolitan Police that this extension of funds is linked to a positive development in the case but it does delay the inevitable media coverage of the case when it is shelved.
Hogan-Howe was replaced by Cressida Dick at the top of the Metropolitan Police earlier this month but has yet to comment on the case.
Readers of the Sunday Express will have read today that the additional cash is to fund officers still hunting for a mystery "person of interest" who is said to be the subject of an international search butb the police have remained non-committal.