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Last Updated: Friday, 3 August 2007, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Madeleine 'sighting' investigated
Madeleine McCann
Madeleine disappeared while her parents were at a restaurant
Police in Belgium say they are taking seriously a possible sighting of a girl fitting the description of missing Madeleine McCann.

Detectives have issued a sketch of a Dutch man and an English woman seen with the girl in a restaurant in Tongeren on the Dutch border.

The news comes exactly three months since the four-year-old was abducted from a holiday complex in the Algarve.

Her parents, Kate and Gerry, are in Spain to highlight their search.

Car traced

A Belgian police spokeswoman said the witness was "trusted" and "100% sure" the girl she saw was Madeleine.

"She works with children and noticed something unusual, that is why we are taking it seriously," the spokeswoman added.

She said that because of her work as a child therapist she had noticed that the people's behaviour was not that of normal parents
Jolien Houbrech

"She said the woman spoke English and the man was Dutch. She said they were acting strangely, but I don't know why."

Checks were also being carried out on the number plate from the couple's car, a Volvo estate, the spokeswoman said.

The news follows a number of other reported sightings across Europe of a child resembling Madeleine since she disappeared in May.

Customer concerns

Student Jolien Houbrech, 21, who works as waitress at the east Belgian town's De Pauze restaurant said she had served the couple and the girl on Saturday.

Police had removed the girl's drink and taken it away for forensic tests, she said.

She described the child as aged five or six with long blonde hair.

Miss Houbrech said she did not have suspicions about the couple until another customer had alerted her to the girl's resemblance to Madeleine.

All we want is to be re-united with Madeleine and to be a happy family once again
Kate McCann

"She said that because of her work as a child therapist she had noticed that the people's behaviour was not that of normal parents," Miss Houbrech said.

"After she said that, I said maybe she should call it in to the police."

The couple left before the customer raised her concerns, Miss Houbrech added.

Police said results from DNA tests on the drinks bottle removed from the restaurant were expected next week.

Spain trip

Meanwhile, Mr and Mrs McCann, of Rothley, Leicestershire, are travelling from Praia da Luz in Portugal, where they are based during their search, to Huelva, Andalucia.

They are planning to put up posters of their daughter across the city.

The couple were staying at an apartment in Praia da Luz, Algarve, when Madeleine vanished on 3 May.

Mrs McCann said she wanted to remind people that her daughter was still missing.

"Today will mark three months since she was cruelly snatched from her bed," she said.

"We do not know where she is, or where she has been taken, but would urge tourists and residents in Portugal and Spain to keep looking for Madeleine.

"All we want is to be re-united with Madeleine and to be a happy family once again."

The couple are urging people with any information about Madeleine's whereabouts to contact police.

They can call international Crimestoppers on 0044 18 83 73 13 36, Crimestoppers in the UK on 0800 555 111 or Portuguese police on 00351 282 405 400.




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