The Metropolitan Police have reportedly been given the go-ahead by Portuguese authorities to dig for evidence in the resort where Madeleine McCann vanished in 2007.
Forensics officers will use ground penetrating radar equipment to search three sites in the Praia da Luz resort.
The permission, given to investigators based in Faro, is being described as a ‘breakthrough’ in the case.
One of the sites is believed to be the apartment where Madeleine disappeared from on May 3, 2007, when she was just three years old.
Another site is said to be a nearby beach, with the third location being close to the apartment block complex where Madeleine vanished from.
Reportedly, the operation is not being launched on new information, but rather details passed on to Portuguese authorities over the last seven years.
Last month, police revealed they were investigating five new cases in which young British girls were sexually abused during holiday home break-ins in the Algarve.
A few days ago Madeleine’s mother, Kate McCann, told Sky News that she needs to know what happened to her daughter even if it was the “worst case scenario”.
She said: “Madeleine’s either alive or she isn’t and we can’t change that.
“Obviously our hope is that she’s alive and being well looked after but regardless of the outcome, we need to know. We all need to know.”