Madeleine McCann latest news: Cops continue to probe secret Hanover cellar 'where evidence hidden since 2007’

GERMAN police are continuing to search a plot in Germany in their latest find in the search for Madeleine McCann.

Forensics have been probing land between Hanover-Ahlem and Seelze-Letter since Monday, Haz.de reported.

They have been digging up an allotment where the suspect – Christian B – is believed to have once lived in a caravan for a short while between 2007 and 2008.

Cops discovered a cellar that has remained in tact and untouched since Madeleine disappeared in 2007 – despite the building above ground being torn down that year.

They have been pictured removing two skips full of concrete blocks and a child’s bucket.

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  • CHRISTIAN B ‘MODIFIED VW VAN’

    Madeleine McCann suspect Christian B repeatedly modified his distinctive VW camper van, according to a report.

    Dein Ghafou, who owned a garage complex in Hanover, Germany, used by Christian B, told how he was visited by police investigating Madeleine’s disappearance.

    “I told them he had been working on a ­Volkswagen Camper here and he would lift the roof up and then make it smaller again,” he told the Mirror.

    “He was always cutting the roof, raising it and then lowering it. He came and went here.

    Neighbours of Christian B at an allotment searched by forensics this week said he lived in the VW LT camper van in 2006 and 2007.

    “He had two dogs with him and a VW LT transporter,” a pensioner told Bild.

    Madeleine McCann suspect Christian B ‘modified VW camper van to hide child & lived in it above hidden cellar’

  • ‘SNIFFER DOGS BARKED AT CELLAR’

    When a cement block covering a hidden cellar in an overgrown German allotment was removed, sniffer dogs immediately barked repeatedly, reports the Telegraph.

    The paper quotes witnesses saying that they saw the moment the BKA, the German federal investigators, lifted off a cement block covering the basement at the council-owned site.

    Upon removing the huge concrete slab, a sniffer dog led the way into the cellar, barking as it descended.

    An eyewitness observing the forensic search in Hanover said: “The sniffer dogs were barking quite a lot.”

  • CELLAR FILLED WITH SAND

    A hidden cellar that was discovered during a search for clues in relation to missing Madeleine McCann has now been completely filled in with sand.

    Updated site pics show the garden has been cleared of vegetation, and covered in sand.

    The abandoned German allotment has this week been the scene of an intense search by about 100 cops and forensic experts, which started on Monday night and has now ended.

    A picture taken on July 29 shows a sign on one tree reading “No entry to the property. Parents are liable for their children” after the police finished a three-day search in the northern German city of Hanover.

  • ALLOTMENT ABANDONED 2018

    German news agency dpa reported that parts of the foundations of an old cabin that once stood on the Hanover allotment were removed during this week’s search.

    A neighbour man told dpa the garden, where blackberry and a cherry tree grow, has not been used by anyone for the past two years.

    Sky's crime correspondent Martin Brunt, who has reported from the scene, said that investigators dug a “big hole, around 15 metres long and 3-4ft deep”.

    Forensics were later seen “sifting and raking through the piles of soil that have been tipped around the edge of that hole”.

    An excavator was then used to refill the trench.

  • RECAP OF EVENTS IN HANOVER

    • German forensic officers have ended a three-day search of a garden plot in the northern city of Hanover
    • The dig is part of an investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal in 2007
    • A hidden cellar has been found in the foundations of a building that was knocked down 13 years ago
    • German authorities said last month they had identified a 43-year-old German citizen as a suspect in the McCann case and are investigating him on suspicion of murder
    • Authorities have not released the suspect’s name, but he has been widely identified by German media as Christian B
    • He ran a kiosk in Braunschweig and also lived in Hanover for several years, dpa reported
    • The allotment is an hour's drive from the town of Braunschweig, the last fixed home of Christian
    • Diggers were brought on to the site, which had trees cleared to aid the search
    • Up to 100 cops have been seen at the plot
    • Investigators – some of whom appeared visibly upset – were seen combing through the dirt with shovels and rakes
    • Cops have removed two skips full of concrete blocks and a child’s bucket.
    • Prosecutor Julia Meyer said: “I can confirm that the search is in connection with our Madeleine McCann investigation.
    • “However, I will not comment on the background and aim of this action or the status of the ongoing investigations.”
    • McCann was three at the time of her 2007 abduction from an apartment while her family vacationed in the seaside town of Praia da Luz in Portugal’s Algarve region.

    SEARCH ENDS

    German police investigating the 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal have ended their search of a garden plot on the outskirts of Hanover, northern Germany, prosecutors said today (Thursday).

    The investigators left Wednesday evening, a spokeswoman for the Braunschweig prosecutor's office said.

    She didn't give any further details on the specific motive for the search or whether police found anything related to their investigation.

    A non-transparent barrier had been placed around the cleared allotment to allow forensics to dig for evidence in privacy.

    Police started started searching the garden on Monday, but prosecutors only said that the activities on the site were connected to their investigation.

    Madeleine was three at the time of her abduction from an apartment while her family vacationed in the seaside town of Praia da Luz in Portugals Algarve region.

    OPERATION GRANGE APPEAL

    Detectives in London leading enquiries into the 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann received hundreds of emails and calls after an updated appeal for information on her disappearance.

    Officers leading the Met’s investigation, known as Operation Grange, made a public appeal on June 3, “linked to a significant new line of enquiry.

    “Met detectives working with German authorities have identified a man currently imprisoned in Germany as a suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance.

    “This man is white and in 2007 is believed to have had short blond hair, possibly fair.

    “He was about 6ft in height with a slim build. He is 43-years-old, but in 2007 may have looked between 25 to early 30s.”

    The prime suspect has since been named in the media as Christian B.

    “We have established that he lived on and off in the Algarve between 1995 and 2007.

    “He is connected to the area of Praia da Luz and surrounding regions, and spent some short spells in Germany,” the unit said.

    Operation Grange team revealed details of two vehicles in which Christian B is known to have had access to and used around the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.

    The first vehicle is a distinctive VW T3 Westfalia campervan. It is an early 1980s model, with two tone markings, a white upper body and a yellow skirting. It had a Portuguese registration plate.

    Christian B “had access to this van from at least April 2007 until sometime after May 2007. It was used in and around the area of Praia da Luz.

    “We believe he was living in this van for days, possibly weeks, and may have been using it on 3 May 2007,” the investigators added.

    The second vehicle is a 1993 British Jaguar, model XJR 6, with a German number plate and registered in Germany.

    This car is believed to have been in the Praia da Luz and surrounding areas in 2006 and 2007.

    CHRISTIAN B DESCRIBED AS A “TWISTED LONER” AT SCHOOL

    Christian B was a twisted loner at school who was hated by all the other children, a former classmate revealed.

    The murder suspect spent his days annoying the other children and getting into a string of fights.

    He also goaded teachers but then laughed in their face when they reacted, the former pupil revealed.

    He told The Sun: “I have only ever had one fight in my life – and that was with Christian B.

    “He spent a year being sneaky and snidey with me, never stopping with the comments.

    “One day I exploded and told him I wished he would go back to the children’s home from where he had come from.

    “We all knew he was adopted, so I shouldn’t have said that but I lost my temper with him.

    “He jumped on me and we traded punches until a teacher pulled me apart.

    “Everyone hated him in class and they all kept their distance.

    “But it wasn’t just the children – it was the teachers as well.

    FAMILY'S LAWYER SAYS 'CLOCK IS TICKING'

    Police have just 22 months to nail the prime suspect in the abduction of Madeleine, according to her family’s lawyer.

    Rogerio Alves says the clock is ticking on the 13-year mystery due to a 15-year time limit on prosecutions in Portugal.

    He told ITV: “We have a 15 years time barrier, even to manslaughter, to homicide, to certain sexual offences — and even to the most serious kind of kidnapping.

    “So we are still on time. But time is getting short now.”

    CHRISTIAN B 'FANTASISED ABOUT CREATING A JOSEF FRITZL-STYLE DUNGEON'

    A former friend said Christian B fantasised about creating a Josef Fritzl-style dungeon at his home.

    Christian B’s pal said: “He had a cellar and he said he wanted to line it with heavy plates, like the guy in Austria.”

    The sex offender allegedly revealed his fantasy to a pal while living in the German city of Brunswick after returning to his home country from Portugal.

    Christian B's pal – who wanted to remain anonymous – led a TV crew to the house where the twice convicted paedophile was living around 2013.

    He alleged that the now 43-year-old German had confided in him that he dreamed of turning the cellar of his rented home into a basement liar.

    Christian B is said to have wanted to create a dungeon like the one Fritzl built with soundproof walls.

    There is no evidence to suggest the suspect ever followed through on this idea.

    Christian B's pal said: “He had a cellar and he said he wanted to line it with heavy plates, like the guy in Austria.”

    RECAP OF DEVELOPMENTS FROM TODAY AND YESTERDAY

    • German police officers were seen leaving the digging site with ground radar specialist equipment.
    • An underground cellar room was found near where Christian B lived
    • Neighbour said Christian B “caused a lot of trouble” as cops searched the area
    • Divers were spotted by locals in Hanover.
    • German forensic officers are searching a garden plot in the northern city of Hanover.
    • The dig is part of an investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal in 2007.
    • German authorities said last month they had identified a 43-year-old German citizen as a suspect in the McCann case and are investigating him on suspicion of murder.
    • Authorities have not released the suspect’s name, but he has been widely identified by German media as Christian B.
    • He ran a kiosk in Braunschweig and also lived in Hanover for several years, dpa reported.
    • The allotment is an hour's drive from the town of Braunschweig, the last fixed home of Christian.
    • Diggers have been brought on to the site, which has had trees cleared to aid the search.
    • Up to 100 cops have been seen at the plot.
    • Investigators were busy today, combing through dirt with shovels and rakes.
    • Prosecutor Julia Meyer said: “I can confirm that the search is in connection with our Madeleine McCann investigation.
    • “However, I will not comment on the background and aim of this action or the status of the ongoing investigations.”
    • McCann was three at the time of her disappearance 13 years ago from an apartment while her family vacationed in the seaside town of Praia da Luz in Portugal’s Algarve region.

    HOW OLD WOULD MADELEINE MCCANN BE NOW?

    Madeleine would now be 17 years old.

    She was born May 12, 2003, and went missing a little more than a week before her fourth birthday.

    Prior to the 13th anniversary of her disappearance, the McCanns said in an update on their FindMadeleine website: “It is now 13 years since we were last with Madeleine.

    “Her 17th birthday is to follow in the next couple of weeks… the latter tangibly, painfully, bringing it home to us what we have missed and continue to miss as a family.

    “The investigation to find Madeleine remains open and continues, even though, in a way different to the ideal.

    “We remain grateful for the ongoing efforts and commitment from all those involved in the search to find her and we hope and pray, as always, that our efforts will be fruitful.

    “Thank you to everyone still offering their support and good wishes for Madeleine and ourselves.

    “Such solidarity continues to strengthen us.”

    GERMAN POLICE SEEN MOVING A SKIP FROM DIG SPOT

    Investigators were seen pushing a skip onto a fork lift on the land in Seelze, Hanover.

    COPS SPOTTED WITH DRONES

    Police investigators have been pictured holding drones as they continue the search on Christian B's allotment in Hanover.

    DIVERS SEEN BY LOCALS IN SEARCH

    Locals near the site of Christian B's former allotment site where he is said to have lived in a caravan say they saw divers nearby.

    A dive team was reportedly spotted searching the River Leine in the nearby town of Seelze.

    The river is located at the back of the former property.

    SUSPECT CALLED 'THE SCREWDRIVER' & 'CAUSED A LOT OF TROUBLE'

    Wolfgang Kossak, 73, who owns the plot next to Christian B's, said many of the plots were sub-let.

    He recalled the suspect as a stranger who “caused a lot of trouble” visiting the site around 2007.

    Christian B “had the garden next to mine” and he “arrived in 2007 and left within a year”, he said.

    “He told me that he living off the grid, that he had not registered with the authorities – no one knew he was there,” Mr Kossak told the MailOnline.

    “Christian is remembered for selling weed when he lived here. The block where he lived always stunk of cannabis, he was the local dealer.”

    The plot is four miles from his last known address in Hanover and just two miles from where the 43-year-old worked in a car workshop.

    He rented a garage at Euro Hobbywerkstatt in Hannover – a few miles down the road from the allotment currently being excavated by German police.

    He was ­nicknamed “the ­screwdriver” because he always smelled of oil and petrol.

    CRIME TV SHOW GIVES COPS A TIP OFF TO START SEARCH

    The extensive search at the site near Hanover, Germany, began after another allotment holder at the site tipped off cops after watching a 'Crimewatch' TV show.

    The show features a range of unsolved crimes which included Madeleine's case.

    Christian B previously boasted to the owner of an allotment he rented in Braunschweig, northern Germany, that he wanted to put perspex glass over a hole in the ground at her site.

    DIG EXTENDED AS BRIT COPS JOIN SEARCH

    The search of the site – currently in its third day – is due to continue for another two days, cops confirmed.

    Dozens of officers are taking part in the hunt for clues that might solve one of the world's most infamous crimes.

    British police officers are also taking part in the investigation and have reportedly already quizzed a garage owner who rented a workspace to Christian B.

    'METICULOUS' SEARCH LEAVES NO STONE UNTURNED

    Around 30 officers are continuing to work on the scene of the plot of land once used by suspect Christian B.

    An area of trees has been cleared and a mini excavator has been used to dig the land.

    A total of three skips have been taken away for the material to be examined, Sky News reports.

    A range of tools from metal detectors to ground-penetrating radar equipment and sniffer dogs are all being utilised in the search.

    “They have dug a big hole here, around 15 metres long and 3 to 4ft deep,” Sky reporter Martin Brunt said from the scene.

    “They are sifting and raking through the piles of soil that have been tipped around the edge of that hole and the excavator is now filling the hole.”

    'HIDDEN CELLAR ROOM' FOUND

    German police discovered what may have been a basement or a hidden cellar room in the remains of the foundations of a building in the allotment where kidnapping suspect Christian B allegedly lived in 2007, Bild.de reports.

    Neighbours say the wooden shed was demolished in late 2007 or 2008 – months after Madeleine disappeared.

    Investigators have been removing slabs of building materials and large square stones were also excavated from the site.

    Wolfgang Kossack, 73, who owns the plot adjacent told MailOnline: “At the time there was a building on the garden. It was a small wooden structure with only one room to keep tools and other things but it had a kitchen.

    “The building was not really a house, you might call it a shed. But it had a cellar and underneath there would be foundations. This building was destroyed in 2008.”

    PICTURED: CONTENTS OF SKIP FROM DIG

    The first photos of what might have been discovered in Christian B's garden lot has been revealed.

    Investigators were seen carrying a skip full of debris and other unidentified material from the lot of land outside Hannover this afternoon.

    COPS FIGHT OFF TEARS AS DIG CONTINUES

    Officers digging at a site used by the suspect in the Madeleine McCann case appeared to fight back tears today as new photos emerged from the scene.

    One officer appeared emotional with a hand covering his mouth at the scene of the excavation

    The public prosecutor's office in Braunschweig confirmed the operation, which began yesterday, and said it will last several days.

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