THE Madeleine McCann suspect has tonight dropped his bid to be freed from prison early as cops search allotments near his home.
Christian B had been trying to cut short his current jail term for drug offences in Germany, but his lawyers announced today the application has been withdrawn.
It comes after German cops began to dig up a garden in Hanover, where the chief suspect once lived.
Forensic officers and sniffer dogs were seen hunting through the allotment for clues on the British youngster’s disappearance..
Christian B was already due for parole after being given time off for good behaviour from a 21 month sentence imposed by a German court in 2018.
But he has now withdrawn the application for early release and will stay caged until late January next year.
A seven year jail term for the 2005 rape of an elderly American widow in Praia da Luz is due to kick in then.
Lawyers have appealed against that conviction on a technicality and the European Court of Justice is due to rule soon.
A legal source said this evening: “[His] legal team appear to be focussing on getting him cleared of the rape while resisting all moves to implicate him of involvement in the McCann case.
This puts a clear marker down – police have six months to get enough evidence to charge him over Madeleine, or he walks.”
Forensics have been probing land between Hanover-Ahlem and Seelze-Letter since 6.30am local time (5.30am UK time) today – even bringing in a digger to clear the area.
Locals said up to 100 police officers have been at the scene.
The allotment, in the Hanover suburb, is an hour’s drive from the town of Braunschweig, the last fixed home of Christian B.
The public prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig told The Sun Online the action was linked to the probe into Madeleine, who vanished in Portugal 13 years ago.
In a statement, prosecutor Julia Meyer said: “I can confirm that the search is in connection with our Madeleine McCann investigation.
“However, I will not comment on the background and aim of this action or the status of the ongoing investigations.”
Christian B, 43, was identified last month as being the prime suspect in her abduction.
German police have repeatedly said with confidence they know Madeleine in dead, and they believe Christian B is their man.
He lived in Hanover in 2010 after living in Portugal and began living in a caravan and working in a car repair shop before being convicted of forgery of documents that same year.
Hanover’s district court sentenced Christian B for falsifying documents in 2010, and then three years later he was sentenced for a joint theft.
The allotment site has been cleared, trees have been felled and a digger has also in used in the large-scale investigation.
A prisoner transporter was also said to be at the closed-off scene – with police declining to reveal exactly what they are searching for on the site.
Madeleine is believed to have been snatched from the Ocean Club apartment where she was sleeping alongside her twin siblings Sean and Amelie on May 3, 2007, in Praia du Luz.
Described as a “twisted loner”, the sex offender is understood to have been a kind of drifter around the resort at the time.
Madeleine would have turned 17 last month, and the family have described the identification of Christian B as “potentially very significant”.