14/08/2014 12:49 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Madeleine McCann Search: 'Six British Cleaners On Suspect List'

'Six British cleaners on suspect list in search for Madeleine McCann'

A newspaper today reports that police are trying to trace British cleaners and Portuguese manual workers as new suspects in the Madeleine McCann investigation.

The Mail on Sunday says there are 12 suspects – not 20 as has been reported – and they include a number of British cleaners who were working near the apartment complex where Madeleine went missing six years ago when she was three years old.

The paper quotes sources who say 'low-level' workers – handymen, cleaners and gardeners – have become the focus of interest.

Some are thought to have been employed on a casual basis by the Ocean Club complex in Praia da Luz where the McCann family stayed. Some may have already been interviewed.

Police are said to be keen to trace six British cleaners who were working in the resort when Madeleine vanished and who didn't appear in the Portuguese files.

They are said to have used a white van and went from apartment to apartment offering their services, chiefly concentrating on expats.

A source told the MoS: "There is quite a culture of people drifting from door to door offering services from everything from your garden to your roof or windows."

As well as the manual workers there are a number of more obvious suspects who already appear in the Portuguese files but who British police feel haven't been 'bottomed out' properly and therefore warrant further investigation.

"There are a lot of people who could be explored further, if only to be eliminated," said Detective Chief Supt Hamish Campbell, head of Scotland Yard's Homicide and Serious Crime Command.

However officers face having to break down Portuguese resistance to re-opening the inquiry. Officials in Lisbon say they can reopen the case only if there is new evidence.

But it has been claimed that the new leads could, if properly explored, result in new evidence and possibly solve the Madeleine mystery.

A spokesman for Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, said: "They have been encouraged from the moment the review started and are now greatly encouraged that police have drawn up a short list of people who they believe are of interest to the inquiry."