Madeleine police in Portugal talks

British detectives reviewing the search for Madeleine McCann have travelled to Portugal for "formal" meetings with authorities.

Scotland Yard said its officers have conducted their first face-to-face discussions with police chiefs who led the massive hunt after the youngster vanished.

Madeleine was nearly four when she went missing from her family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on May 3 2007 as her parents dined with friends nearby.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "MPS officers travelled to Portugal at the beginning of August and had their first formal meeting with Portuguese authorities to discuss ways to progress the investigative review."

Portuguese detectives' investigation - helped by officers from Leicestershire Police - into her disappearance prompted appeals for help across the world.

But the official inquiry was formally shelved in July 2008 and since then no police force has been actively looking for the missing child, who would now be eight.

The Met launched a review of the original investigation in May after a request from Home Secretary Theresa May supported by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Hundreds of possible sightings of the girl have been reported around the world since she went missing, but so far they have all come to nothing.