It appears that The Portuguese police have been branded "Keystone Cops" by British officers who are said to be shocked at their appalling blunders. Detectives from Leicestershire are said to be horrified that clues which could have led to the tot's abductors have probably been lost forever.
The British cops, drafted in to review the three-month investigation, were stunned by the "incompetence, inaccuracy and crass inefficiency" they found.
A source close to the team said the officers had been "tearing their hair out in frustration and disbelief" at basic errors which have hindered the search for four-year-old Maddie.
He told The People: "The Portuguese investigation has been a total shambles. Our guys were left shaking their heads at every turn asking: 'Why the hell did they do that...why didn't they do this?' "They are shocked, disappointed and p***** off by what they've found because basic procedures were not followed.
The McCanns' apartment was scrubbed out and occupied by new tenants only five weeks after Madeleine disappeared and the inquiry was supposedly still highly active. When our guys arrived after 13 weeks they had to go back to square one - except square one had been trampled over with size 11 boots."
The Portuguese investigators came under fire within hours of Maddie's disappearance in Praia da Luz on May 3 for failing to seal off the area, start house-to-house enquiries and alert border guards.
There was no lockdown
1 LOCAL police failed to "lock down" and seal off the Mark Warner Ocean Club resort immediately after Madeleine was reported missing at 10pm on May 3.
Her parents were certain that she had been snatched and told officers straight away.
But police, under "Inspector Clueless" Guilhermino Encarnacao, seemed convinced the tot had simply wandered off.
They did not set up roadblocks which just may have snared the abductors.
House to house
2 COPS' failure to accept they had an abduction on their hands meant they did not launch an immediate search of nearby holiday flats and villas or question locals.
House-to-house enquiries started two days later and most of the 500 properties were not visited until after any kidnapper had been given ample time to flee.
3 BORDER officials should have been told of Maddie's disappearance without delay. A kidnapper could have driven to the Spanish frontier from Praia da Luz in less than an hour. But police only alerted staff at the border 12 hours later.
4 COASTGUARDS and maritime police were not alerted for 14 hours. If cops thought Maddie had wandered off, a search of the nearby beach and sea should have been an obvious and vital move.
There is a also a marina less than 10 minutes' drive from the McCanns' flat, providing an escape route for an abductor. More than 10 boats left before maritime police were warned.
5 THE first police appeal for a suspect did not come until 22 days after Maddie vanished.
Cops later said in Portuguese they were seeking a 170cms (5ft 7ins) man but muddled the conversion and said in English he was 5ft 10ins tall.
At one stage police were showing six different E-fit images to local people and one artist's impression was a simple outline said to be "like an egg with hair on."
Cuddle Cat 'clue'
6 MUM Kate McCann was convinced Maddie had not just wandered off because the tot's favourite soft toy Cuddle Cat was still in the room where she slept with twins Sean and Amelie, two.
Police did not take the toy for forensic tests even though an abductor may have touched it.
Kate was seen clutching it 24 hours later at a press conference and has since washed it as it was dirty and covered in suntan lotion.
British experts say Cuddle Cat should have been sealed in a plastic bag then tested.
The most minute drop of sweat or a single skin cell could have revealed the DNA of Madeleine's kidnapper.
7 A MASSIVE search party should have been organised by police at first light the morning after Maddie disappeared. Instead just 150 police took part in the first searches and they were poorly organised and random.
8 A FULL list of other guests at the Ocean Club resort ought to have been compiled by police with the help of staff within hours of the tot's disappearance.
But they did not get the information until almost 48 hours later - and a day AFTER many potential witnesses had returned home at the end of their holidays. Staff were only quizzed 60 hours later.
9 A DIRECT appeal to the abductor is usually considered vital in the first hours of a kidnapping. Police seek advice from psychologists to carefully word any plea. But it was Madeleine's parents Gerry and Kate who made the public appeal themselves. There was not even a Portuguese police officer at the couple's press conference.
Stranger's DNA found
10 DETECTIVES revealed on June 1 that they had found the DNA of a stranger in the McCanns' apartment.
But they could not check if it was from a known paedophile as Portugal does not have a computerised DNA database of perverts.
The DNA did not match the profile of suspect Robert Murat.
11 THE area immediately surrounding the McCanns' holiday apartment was never properly sealed off by police - even though vital clues are often discovered at such a scene.
People were allowed to walk on the flat's front porch 24 hours after Maddie disappeared. There were no fingertip searches and police sniffer dogs were not brought in until large crowds had gathered in the area, confusing any valuable scent. Mark Williams- Thomas, a highly experienced former British detective who travelled to the resort, called it "the worst preserved crime scene I have ever seen".
The original searches did not find the blood in Madeleine's bedroom and her parents' room.
Specialist sniffer dogs and ultra-violet lights were not used. Staggeringly, police gave the go-ahead for the flat to be occupied again although enquiries were continuing.
And by the time the British team checked the apartment it had already been thoroughly cleaned.
12 DETAILS of the pyjamas Maddie was wearing should have been released straight away.
Anyone who saw her would probably have recalled the distinctive pink Eeyore nightwear.
But officers repeatedly refused to issue a description and it was left to her parents to give details an astonishing four days later.
13 IMAGES from CCTV cameras on the main A22 motorway leading out of Praia da Luz towards Spain were not checked.
14 SUSPECT Robert Murat's home was raided by police who seized his computers.
When they found names and four-digit numbers on a spreadsheet they were convinced they had unearthed "encrypted codes for a paedophile ring."
But the list was simply a family tree giving the names and birth dates of the estate agent's relatives.
Portuguese police bungled their search of Murat's garden.
They did not clear bushes and shrubs - British officers later ordered gardeners to hack away the undergrowth.
They then made a thorough search and inserted probes into the ground to seek any trace of human remains.
Portuguese officers also searched a guest house run by Murat's aunt in nearby Burgao.
They hacked at the concrete-hard ground with picks until it dawned on them that the area had not been disturbed in years.
15 COPS last week said they were looking at a new suspect - a British man who returned a hire car to Faro airport two days after Maddie vanished.
The vehicle had a child seat in the back but no child. Car rental staff alerted police, whose interest was fired when they found the customers were James and Charlotte Gorrod - who had been on holiday in Praia da Luz and knew friends of the McCanns.
But the innocent couple were never questioned. The hire firm had failed to notice the Gorrods had their two-year-old son with them all along. But police leaked word of a "new lead" to Portuguese reporters.
16 DETECTIVES wasted time following up tip-offs from psychics and cranks.
Two weeks after Maddie vanished a local medium claimed she had "zoned-in" on map co-ordinates pinpointing a well in which Maddie was being hidden. She said the little girl was still alive.
Portuguese Cops threw a stone down the well to test the bizarre tip-off - without thinking of the injury to Maddie if she had been there
Please feel free to add anything I may have missed as I would like to make a more comprehensive list.
- Now almost 10 months on we now as much now as the day Madeleine went missing. Isn't it time the PJ stopped looking for the easy way out and stopped trying to scapegoat Kate and Gerry and actually admitted they have nothing?
- No DNA
- No Evidence
- No Clues