14/08/2014 12:50 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Scotland Yard Actively Investigating Madeleine McCann Case

Hoep for the McCanns as Scotland Yard actively investigate Maddie's disappearance

Scotland Yard are launching a new investigation into the case of missing Madeleine McCann, six years after her disappearance in Portugal.

The Mirror reports that Home Office officials confirmed they will be funding a multi-million-pound investigation into what happened to the little girl, who vanished on a family holiday just before her fourth birthday in 2007.

The announcement came yesterday, and is said to be not only a significant development, but the first time police in the UK have 'actively' investigated the case.

A source close to the McCann family told reporters that it was a 'major development' for Kate and Gerry.

"It's a big step forward in finding Madeleine and bringing those responsible to justice," he said. "The Met have gone from reviewing the case to fully investigating it which makes it much more likely that this will be solved."

The Portuguese authorities have refused to reopen their investigations into Madeleine's alleged abduction on the basis there is insufficient evidence, yet after conducting a two year review, Scotland Yard say they have identified more than 20 potential suspects, including Britons and at least two known sex offenders.

Detectives are said to now be looking to investigate and question those identified during the review, and if the alleged abductor is found to be British, a UK prosecution could follow.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said they are 'encouraged' by the progress they are now making, and that they are continuing to 'identify potential lines of inquiry'.

The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said they would not be commenting on 'operational police matters'.