Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are probing an “important new lead” that she was snatched by a trafficking gang, reports have suggested.
The new line of inquiry could shed light on whether Madeleine was kidnapped or transported away, the Sun on Sunday reported.
Madeleine disappeared from the family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007 aged three.
Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, of Rothley, Leicestershire, have vowed to "never give up" hope of finding their daughter.
Since 2011, the Metropolitan Police have been assisting with the search for clues about what happened to the youngster, with officers visiting the holiday resort in 2014.
Scotland Yard has now been given more funding to continue their search with more months of investigation, the Sun on Sunday claimed.
In April the Home Office granted the investigation, called Operation Grange, £95,000 to cover another six months of the inquiry.
But in August, Scotland Yard said that there was "outstanding work" on the case and that the "Metropolitan Police Service will remain in dialogue with the Home Office regarding the continuation of funding".
A Home Office spokesman said on Sunday: "We have already set out that we have provided the Metropolitan Police with the funding required for Operation Grange to continue until at least the end of this financial year. The resources required will be reviewed again at this point."
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The Operation Grange team are not prepared to discuss any lines of inquiry whilst the investigation is ongoing."