Page last updated at 14:05 GMT, Saturday, 6 March 2010

Madeleine McCann's parents criticise release of files

Kate and Gerry McCann
The files detail a sighting of a girl being held at gunpoint in 2008

The parents of Madeleine McCann have criticised the release of previously unseen Portuguese police files on their daughter's case to British newspapers.

The 2,000-page dossier details dozens of possible sightings of Madeleine since she disappeared, aged three.

Kate and Gerry McCann, of Rothley, Leicestershire, said the release "greatly jeopardises the search" and puts witnesses at risk.

Madeleine went missing while on holiday in Praia da Luz, Portugal in May 2007.

The McCann's said the release of the dossier, following an application to a court, was "incomprehensible" and "upsetting".

'Compromised' investigations

In a statement, they said: "Disclosing such information publicly greatly jeopardises the search for Madeleine and puts witnesses and innocent members of the general public at risk (as well as causing them great anxiety).

"Release and publication of information in this manner also potentially compromises future investigations. It is difficult to see how anyone benefits from this week's actions."

The files include a report of a small blonde girl being dragged along the road to Faro airport in the Algarve - an hour's drive from Praia da Luz - on the night Madeleine vanished.

It is invaluable to know that we are not facing this difficult journey alone
Kate and Gerry McCann

Another report details how a young girl who looked like the missing child was seen being held at gunpoint on a French motorway by a half-naked man in August 2008.

In their statement, the McCanns also thanked their supporters.

"We are incredibly grateful to all those who continue to support us in our search for Madeleine.

"During weeks such as these, it is invaluable to know that we are not facing this difficult journey alone."

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