Madeleine McCann went missing in May 2007. Picture: AP
Madeleine McCann went missing in May 2007. Picture: AP

Police request funds for Maddie search

UK Police have applied for more funding to continue the search for Madeleine McCann.

The youngster was just three years old when she disappeared during a family holiday in Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) launched Operation Grange in 2013 after little progress was made by Portuguese authorities.

More than $AU21 million has been spent on the search so far.

Maddie's disappearance is one of the most heavily reported missing person cases in the world, garnering international attention over the last 11 years.

Madeleine McCann disappeared at the age of three during a family holiday to Portugal. Picture: Supplied
Madeleine McCann disappeared at the age of three during a family holiday to Portugal. Picture: Supplied

In a statement on Tuesday, local time, the UK Home Office said it had received and were considering a request from police to extend funding for the operation until the end of March 2019.

"The Home Office maintains an ongoing dialogue with the MPS regarding funding for Operation Grange," it read.

UK media had recently speculated that money for the search was due to run out by the end of September, however the Home Office dismissed this, claiming Special Grant applications could be paid retrospectively.

"Funding for Special Grant applications can be paid retrospectively for operational work already done in the same financial year," the statement read.

"It is therefore incorrect to suggest that the MPS would have to discontinue its operational work after 30 September 2018 unless additional funds were provided in advance of this date."

It follows news that Maddie's mother Kate McCann was forced to close down an online store that was aimed at raising money for the search of her daughter.

In a message on the shop section of the "Find Madeleine" website, which sold clothing and posters with slogans saying "Please don't give up on me," Ms McCann wrote: "Unfortunately, due to many commitments and pressures, I am unable at this time to attend to website orders."

However, it has also been reported that donations for the toddler's search have virtually dried up.

Mrs McCann and her husband Gerry have never given up hope that their daughter was alive.

A rare interview with Mr McCann will air on BBC's Radio 4 program Pearl: Two fathers, Two Daughters this Saturday in the UK, where he will discuss his mental health issues following Maddie's disappearance.