A KEY witness in the hunt for missing Madeleine McCann was considered so important Scotland Yard sealed off an entire hotel for his statement and swept the building for bugs.
German drifter Helge Busching, 50, who HOAR revealed earlier this month, was the catalyst to the recent dramatic developments in the case when he tipped off cops three years ago with vital information.
He told them convicted paedophile Christian B, who has been identified by German cops as the man responsible for Madeleine’s abduction, confessed to him he had taken her in 2008.
But Busching, who we found in Corsica, did not tell police until 2017 when he was under arrest in Greece for people smuggling.
Cops in Athens initially questioned him and they thought the information so credible they tipped off the Met’s Operation Grange team who have been leading the hunt for Madeleine.
‘SWEPT THE PLACE FOR BUGS’
Officers flew to Athens where Busching was quizzed in a hotel in the city centre but only after sophisticated bugging equipment had been brought in to check for listening devices.
Manfred Seyferth, an ex partner in crime with Christian B and Busching, described how he had been left stunned when he heard about it.
Seyferth, who was sharing a flat in Athens with Busching, said: ”I knew he had told British police Christian B was involved and they flew to Athens when Busching and I were together in Greece.
”He told me he had something very important to tell Scotland Yard and they flew out to Athens and took over the floor of a hotel in the centre.
”Busching later told me they had swept the place for bugs and microphones because what he had to say about Madeleine and Christian B was very important.
”But he never actually told me what it was that he told Scotland Yard about Christian B and Madeleine, it must have been important because he came back a few days later with lots of money and he was hoppa (drunk) hoppa (drunk).”
According to statements seen by HOAR, Busching was asked by a Scotland Yard detective named as Mark, to look closely at Google satellite images of the Algarve.
Madeleine, three, was taken from the Portuguese coastal region in 2007 while on a family holiday with parents Kate and Gerry and her twin siblings.
Busching is said to have told cops that Christian B confessed to him at a hippy festival in Orgiva, Spain, that he had been involved in her abduction.
Earlier this month HOAR found him in Corsica where he said of Christian B:”Just one word. Guilty.”