Hopeful ... Kate and Gerry McCann.

Hopeful ... Kate and Gerry McCann. Photo: AP

Missing British girl Madeleine McCann's parents say they are more hopeful of finding her than at any time since she vanished in Portugal five years ago.

Kate and Gerry McCann said they hoped Portuguese authorities will re-open the investigation into their daughter's disappearance after "new information" had come to light.

There's a real possibility that she's out there alive. 

"We're probably more hopeful now than at any point in the last five years," Madeleine's father Gerry told reporters in London a day before the fifth anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance from the Praia de Luz resort.

He stressed that new information had emerged since British police began an investigative review last year and "the chances of finding Madeleine have increased".

"If people want the case solved and want to bring the perpetrators to justice the best chance is to formally reopen the case," Gerry McCann said.

Scotland Yard said last week a review had unearthed 195 "investigative opportunities" in the evidence surrounding Madeleine's disappearance in 2007.

She went missing from a holiday apartment during a family holiday as her parents and friends ate tapas in a nearby restaurant. She was just short of her fourth birthday when she vanished.

But after Scotland Yard's statement, Portuguese police said they had no evidence that would cause the judiciary to declare a reopening of the investigation, although detectives would continue to "re-examine elements of the inquiry".

The McCanns, who have run a high-profile campaign to find Madeleine, said they could not comment on the nature of the new information.

But the British couple appealed to the public to contact police with any information or sightings after police released an age-progression image of Madeleine as she would look now, ahead of her ninth birthday on May 12.

"There's a real possibility that she's out there alive," Madeleine's mother said.

Gerry McCann cited Jaycee Dugard, Shawn Hornbeck and Elizabeth Smart - youngsters who reappeared after abductions in the United States - as giving Madeleine's family hope.

Kate said their younger children, twins Sean and Amelie, seven, had coped well with their sister's disappearance and the ongoing search.

But the two children "will want to carry on the search" when they are older, she said, and their parents do not want them to inherit the "pain, sadness, frustration and anger" they have experienced themselves.

"We don't want them to have the burden of this, to be looking and looking and looking and not being able to stop."

AFP