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Last Updated: Monday, 24 September 2007, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
Madeleine sighting 'encouraging'
Kate and Gerry McCann outside their house in Rothley
The McCanns are trying to restore some normality to their lives
The parents of Madeleine McCann are encouraged by a reported sighting of their four-year-old daughter in Morocco, their spokesman has said.

Clarence Mitchell told a press conference Kate and Gerry McCann were always very interested to hear about any sighting that had credibility.

However, he refused to comment on reports the couple had hired private investigators to help find Madeleine.

The McCanns are formal suspects in the inquiry into the girl's disappearance.

A number of media organisations have reported that private security firm Control Risks Group (CRG) were employed four months ago to check reported sightings and build up profiles of likely abductors.

Mr Mitchell refused to confirm or deny reports.

This is a normal family in abnormal circumstances trying to get their life back on track
Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the McCanns

"All I can say is that Gerry and Kate have always made it clear they will leave no stone unturned in the search for Madeleine," he said.

CRG told the BBC they would not comment on the reports.

Mr Mitchell also told journalists the couple were feeling positive after spending the weekend working hard on their defence case.

He said they were keen to get their life at home in Rothley, Leicestershire, back to normal as quickly as possible.

"They are working to clear their names. They are confident that will be the case in due course but we are not yet sure...quite how long it will take, but it could take some time," he added.

"This is a normal family in abnormal circumstances trying to get their life back on track whilst having to deal with this awful situation they face abroad."

Key information

Over the weekend, it was revealed that a British man believed he had spotted Madeleine near a hotel in Marrakech in the same location and on the same day as Norwegian tourist Marie Pollard reported seeing her.

Mr Mitchell said: "They are always very pleased to hear about any sighting no matter how long after the event.

"And if it provides that key piece of information that does lead to Madeleine being recovered then it is vital."

On Sunday, it emerged that a millionaire businessman was giving the McCanns financial support to help them fight the accusations they face.

Cheshire-based Brian Kennedy, who owns Sale Sharks rugby club, said he "felt compelled" to help the couple with financial and logistical support, including his in-house lawyer.

Madeleine was last seen in Praia da Luz, in Algarve, Portugal on 3 May - days before her fourth birthday.

Her parents insist she was abducted while they ate at a nearby tapas bar with friends.


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