The Home Office has agreed to give Scotland Yard another £154,000 to extend its search for Madeleine McCann until the end of March, reports have suggested.
It follows suggestions earlier this week that the £12 million hunt for the girl could come to an end within days.
The Sunday Times’ northern and crime correspondent, David Collins, and Sky News’s crime reporter Martin Brunt both reported that the extra money will allow the search to continue.
The money is on top of £85,000 allocated in April.
Brunt reported the money was more than Scotland Yard had anticipated, and that work continues on a theory that “could take some time”.
He explained the investigation, which has three or four officers working on it, will be wound up if the latest theory cannot be stood up.
“Somebody described it to me as a very small squad at Scotland Yard ‘minding the shop’ while work is done at some distance by other forces that is a continuation of looking for elusive clues,” he said, adding there was “careful detective work going on”.
Collins tweeted this afternoon: “Sources say Home Office will grant further £154,000 to Operation Grange - the investigation in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance
“The Met’s hunt for Madeleine McCann is set to continue with announcement of further funding, sources say.
“Operation Grange will continue until at least March 2018.”
Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, of Rothley, Leicestershire, have often spoken of their bitter regret about leaving her and then two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie alone. Their daughter would now be a teenager and the family have never given up the search and remain hopeful she is alive.
In April Madeleine’s father Gerry McCann said criticism of the amount of public money being spent on the search was “unfair.”
He added anyone whose child was abducted while on holiday abroad would think it “reasonable” everyone that could be done to find their loved one was being done.
He said: “I think some of that criticism is really quite unfair actually, because I know it’s a single missing child, but there are millions of British tourists that go to the Algarve, year-on-year, and essentially you’ve got a British subject who was the subject of a crime.
“There were other crimes that came to light following Madeleine’s abduction, that involved British tourists, so I think prosecuting it (the investigation) to a reasonable end is what you would expect.”