MADELEINE MCCANN SEARCH LIVE: German and Portuguese police continue their hunt

The first day of the search got underway shortly before 9am local time yesterday (May 23). A ring of steel around the site meant journalists and curious onlookers were kept more than a mile back.

From a distance, police were seen combing the banks of the reservoir with the help of sniffer dogs, rakes and pickaxes, and emergency service divers were seen on a rigid-hull inflatable boat.

Excavations were carried out at points around the reservoir where the dogs indicated there might be something of interest to the investigators. Bags were seen being removed from the site, although it was not clear what they contained.

Officers concentrated their search at one area of the reservoir – erecting white tents on a hill on the banks. Further around the water, emergency services and officials from Portugal, Germany and the UK were seen holding briefings near blue police tents.

In the search area, uniformed and plain-clothed officers spent a number of hours scouring the banks – hammering away at the ground with pickaxes and combing through small rocks with rakes and spades.

A track leading to the search area was cordoned off with police tape and marked vehicles from Portugal’s National Republican Guard.