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CRIME

German police resume Maddie McCann allotment search

German police resumed searching an allotment Wednesday in connection with the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann, with hopes high of some light finally being shed on the years-long mystery.

German police resume Maddie McCann allotment search
An excavator at the scene in Seelze in the Hanover region. Photo: DPA

Officers used sniffer dogs and an excavator as they dug up the site in the city of Hanover, with several police vehicles parked around a cordoned-off area.

The sky above the plot was declared a no-fly zone, according to the local Hannoversche Allgemeine newspaper.

Police revealed in June that they were investigating a 43-year-old German man in connection with the case, saying they believe he had killed Maddie.

READ ALSO: Police search garden allotment in Hanover in 'Maddie' case

The suspect, who was not named by police but identified by German media as Christian B., reportedly lived in Hanover from 2007.

Police began digging at the plot in the early hours of Tuesday.

They have given no details of how the search is connected to the case or what they hope to find.

Germany's Bild newspaper reported that police had unearthed the foundations of an old building, along with a cellar, which an unnamed neighbour said was part of a building that had stood there long before the suspect B. took over the plot.

A sniffer dog was used to search a cavernous space beneath a concrete slab on the site, according to the Hannoversche Allgemeine.

Brunswick prosecutors and police declined to comment on the reported cellar when contacted by AFP.

Madeleine went missing from her family's holiday apartment in the Portuguese holiday resort of Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007, a few days before her fourth birthday, as her parents dined with friends at a nearby tapas bar.

Despite a huge international manhunt, no trace of her has been found, nor has anyone been charged over her disappearance.

German prosecutors said in June they had “concrete evidence” that Madeleine was dead, despite British police continuing to treat her disappearance as a missing persons case.

READ ALSO: German 'Maddie' suspect refuses to speak about case

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CRIME

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners

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