The alleged sightings around Queenstown in recent months of a girl with a distinctive eye defect have led Scotland Yard to make a request to New Zealand authorities for DNA testing.

“Police will be sending a DNA profile to British police…to confirm the identity of a girl who has been mistaken for Madeleine by a member of the public,” said New Zealand’s Detective Senior Sergeant Kallum Croudis, according to the Southland Times.

“This is not a line of inquiry, but just to corroborate what police in New Zealand are saying we have requested DNA,” said a spokeswoman for the Met Police. 

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The parents of Madeleine McCann, Kate and Gerry McCann pose with an artist’s impression of how their daughter might look now at the age of nine (Getty images)

A shop assistant who originally reported the ‘spotting’ last month noticed the distinctive defect in the unidentified girl’s eye “She had the same eye defect as Madeleine. Only a very small percentage of the population have that and I was just staring at it the whole time to the point I forgot what they had purchased.”

Madeleine McCann went missing from her parent’s holiday villa in Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2007.