POLICE searching for Madeleine McCann have received £154,000 to keep the investigation alive as hopes grow they are closing in on her kidnapper.
Kate and Gerry McCann have today been given fresh hope in the decade-long search for their daughter.
Without fresh funding Operation Grange could have shut down in as little as three weeks time.
The extra cash is set to fund the search until March next year.
Kate and and Gerry are “extremely thankful to both the Home Office and Scotland Yard for the continued funding,” their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said.
The Home Office announced this afternoon it was ploughing more money into Operation Grange, the official investigation, at the latest request of Met Police.
The McCann’s had feared the six-year inquiry, which has so far cost the taxpayer £11.2million, could have been shelved on Saturday.
He added: “They are very encouraged that there remains work to be done that requires this extra budget.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “Following an application from the Metropolitan Police, the Home Office has confirmed funding for Operation Grange until the end of March 2018.
“As with all applications, the resources required are reviewed regularly and careful consideration is given before any funding is allocated.”
Speaking ahead of the decision, the family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: “Kate and Gerry are extremely thankful to the Metropolitan Police for requesting extra funding.
“They are very encouraged there remains work to be done that requires them seeking an extra budget. “They are hoping, naturally, it will be granted.
“They are grateful to all those officers who are still working on the case and are actively looking for Madeleine.
“They appreciate everything the police have done and are doing to get a resolution after all this time.”
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Operation Grange was launched in 2011 after the Portuguese-led investigation was closed in 2008.
It has so far cost more than £11 million.
Scotland Yard asked for the extra cash from the Special Grants Committee to “pursue a final line of inquiry” a McCann source revealed, adding: “It gives Kate and Gerry hope that after more than 10 years they may finally find out what happened to their daughter.”
Three-year-old Maddie vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal’s Praia da Luz in May 2007.
She had been left alone sleeping with her younger twin siblings while her parents were dining in a nearby tapas restaurant.
A Home Office spokesman revealed the total awarded to Operation Grange for the financial year 2017/2018 is £309,000.
The figure is made up of the new £154,000 for police operational costs, the previous £85,000 given in March, totalling £239,000.
An extra £70,000 has also come out of the budget for “recently agreed admin and employment” which does not pay for detectives.
The spokesman added: “The number of officers remains at the same level.”
Scotland Yard declined to comment on the Maddie inquiry new cash boost.
Detectives on the inquiry, headed by Detective Chief Inspector Nicola wall, say there is “still important work to do and focused lines of investigation to be pursued.”
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “The inquiry has not reached a conclusion and we’re continuing with focus and determination.
“There are no immediate plans to reduce officer numbers further at this time.”