- (Photo: AP / Paul White)
The search for missing 4-year-old Madeleine McCann has seen further developments as police in Malta report they are investigating possible sightings of the abducted British girl.
It is now over 50 days since Madeleine went missing from her familys holiday apartment in Portugal, and a number of British tourists have reported seeing a child resembling her in the Maltese capital Valletta.
Superintendent Pierre Calleja said police in Malta had received a report of a possible sighting. He said, Subsequent to this report, a full scale police investigation and a magisterial inquiry were initiated. These investigations are actively in progress and all possible avenues are being pursued.
A spokesman for Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, said they would not be hasty in giving credibility to the claims at this stage.
In-Nazzjon, a Maltese newspaper reported that two tourists told police they had seen a girl matching Madeleine's description in Valletta.
Other reports said four additional people had also come forward with possible sightings following this.
Ray Roberts, from Anglesey, north Wales, said he saw a child in Sliema wearing what looked like a black wig and being told "Get up, little girl" by a man of Arab appearance, BBC has reported.
"It was obviously not his first language so it seemed odd that he had to speak to her in English," Roberts said. "As a father, their reaction did not seem natural. Then I noticed the little girl's hair. It was pitch black, very thick and cut in an unusual style for a child that age - very much like a wig rather than real hair.
"The more I think about what I saw the more convinced I become that it may well have been Maddie. The oddness of it all played out in my mind until I got home then I realized I had to do something."
However, a spokeswoman for the McCann family has said they were not focusing on the sightings until more information was available from an official source.
"Their whole attitude from day one has been that they know there are going to be lots of bits of information, but if they expended energy on every single one of them what would they be like by now?" she explained.
Madeleines family also led supporters across 50 countries in marking the 50th day since her disappearance. They released 50 yellow balloons from the beach resort where their daughter went missing, and 49 other countries including England, Ireland, Argentina, USA, Singapore and Australia marked the day in the same way.