12/02/2015 08:57 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Madeleine McCann Search: Cost Of Investigation To Soar To £9 Million


The cost of the search for missing Madeleine McCann is likely to soar to nearly £9 million, the Mail reports.

It says detectives spent £16,000 on 67 return flights to Portugal last year in their quest for leads about what happened to the toddler who vanished in 2007.

The newspaper discovered the figures after a Freedom of Information act request.

It revealed that officers and staff made 48 return flights in the nine months between January and October last year and a further 19 were made to the end of December.

The cost for the flights was £15,945, an average of £238 per return flight.

The Home Office, which has spent around £2m per year on the investigation since 2011, said this year's spend was likely to be 'broadly in line' with previous years.

The Mail says this means the bill is likely to top £9m.

But despite the increased police activity in Portugal, other figures show the number of detectives on the investigation has reduced.

At one point there were 29 detectives among 37 staff trying to solve Madeleine's disappearance in Praia da Luz in Portugal.

Now, according to the figures, the number of detectives stands at 21, including 15 constables, three sergeants and two inspectors.

There are also nine police support staff and four agency staff - all ex police officers - on the 34-strong team, which is led by Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Wall.

Madeleine was just three when she went missing from her family's rented holiday apartment in the resort in May 2007, while her parents Kate and Gerry had dinner nearby.

Police have spent eight years excavating different sites and interviewing a variety of witnesses but are still no closer to solving the mystery of Madeleine's disappearance.