Officials meet to discuss McCann evidence

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LONDON, Nov 28 (Reuters) British and Portuguese forensic scientists are to meet to discuss DNA evidence in the Madeleine McCann investigation, police said today.

The team from Portugal will meet officials from the Forensic Science Service, the government-owned company that works for police forces in England and Wales.

Experts at the research centre in Birmingham have helped Portuguese detectives since the three-year-old went missing from a holiday resort on the Algarve on May 3.

''It was felt that it was difficult to do everything on the phone. The time was right for them to sit down face-to-face,'' a Leicestershire Constabulary spokeswoman said. ''It has not been generated by any specific developments.'' The talks will take place tomorrow at an undisclosed location.

News reports said the meeting will focus on DNA evidence said to have been found in a hire car used by the girl's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, while they were in Portugal.

The McCanns, from Rothley, Leicestershire, were named as formal suspects in the case on September 7.

They say they are innocent and have launched a high-profile campaign to clear their names and find their daughter, who they think was abducted.

The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: ''Such a meeting should not be seen as surprising. We do not see it as a significant development.'' REUTERS PD KN1545

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