Child abuse experts fly in to help in investigation

THE INVESTIGATION into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann took a sinister twist today (Wednesday) with the news that police are looking for dozens of British sex offenders who travelled to the Algarve in the past month.

The search is taking place in Britain and in Portugal, where detectives have drawn up a description of a British man whom they want to question over Madeleine’s disappearance.

A computer-generated artist’s impression of the suspect shows a white man, 5ft 8in (1.7m) tall, aged 35 to 40, with short, dark hair.

As a result, British detectives have compiled a list of every person on the sex offenders register who told police that they were travelling to the country.

The list was compiled by Leicestershire Constabulary over the weekend from records kept by every police force.

It is understood that British police have also given the Portuguese details of UK paedophile networks with links to the Algarve – including men who fled to hide in a country where there is no register of sex offenders.

Meanwhile, two British experts in child abuse cases have arrived in Portugal at the request of local police.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre officers are believed to have a mass of information about sex offenders across Europe.

One, top forensic psychologist Joe Sullivan, has helped police forces across Europe solve a string of child sex cases and kidnaps.

Updated 14:42, May 9, 2007