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Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner took vehicles he owned when she vanished back to Germany and SCRAPPED them

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VEHICLES owned by Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner in Portugal when she vanished there were taken to Germany and scrapped.

And our exclusive picture shows a white Mercedes Sprinter van — like the one cops said he had in the Algarve — parked at a creepy woodland site he later bought.

Brueckner is on trial for rape and child abuse charges which have emerged as part of the Madeleine McCann investigation

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Brueckner is on trial for rape and child abuse charges which have emerged as part of the Madeleine McCann investigationCredit: Dan Charity
Our exclusive picture shows a white Mercedes Sprinter van parked at a creepy woodland site he later bought

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Our exclusive picture shows a white Mercedes Sprinter van parked at a creepy woodland site he later boughtCredit: Dan Charity
Brueckner bought the abandoned factory in the former communist East Germany in 2010

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Brueckner bought the abandoned factory in the former communist East Germany in 2010Credit: Dan Charity
Madeleine went missing on May 3, 2007, when her family were holidaying in Praia da Luz, in the Algarve, Portugal

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Madeleine went missing on May 3, 2007, when her family were holidaying in Praia da Luz, in the Algarve, PortugalCredit: PA:Press Association

The paedophile took a Mercedes van, VW estate and Opel Ascona back to his home country, our investigation has found.

It was not known exactly when.

Sources say he then regularly visited a scrapyard near his home there to dispose of cars and vans.

It was understood German cops were told in 2020 he used it when he was first publicly named as a suspect in the 2007 disappearance of Madeleine, three, from an Algarve holiday apartment.

But he was aware from 2013 that his name had been given to the Madeleine investigators so it is possible he could have scrapped them between then and 2020.

The scrapyard, in nearby Helmstedt, has since shut.

We tracked down the owners who said they still have a decade of records — and admitted they were “surprised” they had never heard from cops.

Madeleine McCann prime suspect Christian Brueckner facing trial for alleged rape of Irish mum Hazel Behan

Brueckner was known to store vehicles at his derelict box factory in Neuwegersleben.

A source said: “We know he brought some back from Portugal and drove them around for years.

“His white van was well-known locally. He drove it round with a mattress in the back for when he arranged hook-ups online with women.

“He told me he regularly took old vehicles to the scrapyard in Helmstedt but of course no one thought anything of it at the time.”

He bought the abandoned factory in the former communist East Germany in 2010 and is believed to have lived in a trailer there.

A 2016 police search uncovered disturbing images and videos on memory cards in a Lidl plastic bag beneath the corpse of one of his dogs.

Clothing including swimwear in children’s sizes were also found.

Rape and child abuse charges

Multiple sources confirmed at least two other vehicles had come back from Portugal with Brueckner.

The owner of the scrapyard, who did not want to be named, told The Sun on Sunday: “German law requires that you keep all records for at least ten years.

“But the thing is, none of the police divisions came round to ask us anything, which you could say is surprising.”

German investigators last night confirmed they were still pursuing any vehicles linked to Brueckner.

Brueckner is in jail in Germany for rape and also now on trial for other rape and child abuse charges which have emerged as part of the Madeleine investigation.

He denies any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance.

Brueckner is believed to have lived in a trailer at the derelict property in the old East Germany

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Brueckner is believed to have lived in a trailer at the derelict property in the old East GermanyCredit: Dan Charity
The owner of the scrapyard told The Sun on Sunday: 'German law requires that you keep all records for at least ten years'

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The owner of the scrapyard told The Sun on Sunday: ‘German law requires that you keep all records for at least ten years’Credit: Dan Charity
The owner added: 'But the thing is, none of the police divisions came round to ask us anything, which you could say is surprising'

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The owner added: ‘But the thing is, none of the police divisions came round to ask us anything, which you could say is surprising’Credit: Dan Charity

Key dates in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance

MADELEINE McCann vanished on May 3, 2007 – and cops believe Brueckner could have been behind her disappearace.

Almost 17 years on, no one has been charged in connection. These are the key dates:

May 3, 2007 – Kate McCann finds Madeleine missing at 10pm

May 14, 2007 – Property developer Robert Murat is named an “arguido” or formal suspect

August 31, 2007 – The McCanns launch libel action against Tal e Qual – a newspaper that claimed the couple killed Madeleine

September 7, 2007 – Kate and Gerry McCann are made “arguidos”

September 9, 2007– Madeleine’s parents return to England with their two-year-old twins

October 2, 2007– Lead detective Goncalo Amaral is taken off the case after criticising British police in a newspaper interview

July 21, 2009 – Portuguese police lift the “arguido” status of  both Robert Murat and the McCanns

May 12, 2011 – On Madeleine’s eighth birthday, Scotland Yard launches a review into the case 

April 25, 2012 – Scotland Yard officers say they believe Madeleine McCann is still alive

July 4, 2013 – Two years into a review of the case, Scotland Yard launched its own investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance

October 24, 2013– Portuguese police reopen their case after new lines of inquiry are found

November 27, 2013 – Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe called for British and Portuguese police to work together

October 28, 2015 – Scotland Yard reduces the number of officers working on Madeleine’s disappearance

March 11, 2017  – The Home Office grants Operation Grange an extra £85,000 to continue from April until September

September 28, 2017 –  British police are granted £154,000 to keep the probe going until March 2018

November 2017 – Cops moved the search to Bulgaria

May 2018 – Another round of funding, thought to be in the region of £150,000 is granted

September 2018 – An extra six months of funding is requested from the Home Office

November 2018 – More funding, thought to be in the region of £150,000 is granted

November 2018 – UK police re-examine a theory Madeleine left the apartment to look for her parents

June 2019 – Another round of funding, believed to be £300,000 of government cash is granted

June 2019 – Portuguese police are probing a “new clue and suspect” after talks with British officers

June 2020 – New prime suspect revealed as a German paedo Christian Brueckner

April 2022 – Brueckner formally made an “arguido”

May 2023 – Police search remote Algarve reservoir Brueckner called his “little paradise”

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