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Pleas, anger in missing girl hunt

Story Highlights

• Parents of missing Madeleine McCann make video appeal for her return
• Madeleine, four on Saturday, was snatched from a Portuguese vacation resort
• Police criticized by UK media as officers filmed sheltering from rain at roadblocks
• Portuguese ambassador to UK calls for authorities to be trusted
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- The anguished parents of Madeleine McCann, the British girl missing for more than a week after appparently being snatched from a Portuguese vacation resort, have made a fresh appeal for her return.

"Words cannot describe the anguish and despair that we are feeling," said Madeleine's father, Gerry McCann.

"Please, please, do not hurt her. Please do not scare her, please tell us where to find her," the girl's mother, Kate McCann, said in a video plea for the girl's release. (Watch mother plea for missing daughter's return Video)

Police say Madeleine, who turns four on Saturday, was abducted from her parent's resort apartment in Portugal's Algarve. The McCanns had left their daughter in bed as they dined nearby.

Amid fierce media criticism in the UK of Portuguese police efforts to find the toddler, Portugal's ambassador in London , Antonio Santana Carlos, released a statement Friday saying, "Trust the authorities. They're doing their best."

But British media filming roadblocks on Portugal's border with Spain caught police sitting in their cars and waving vehicles by during a recent rainshower.

"Clueless" was a front page headline in London's Daily Mirror newspaper earlier this week.

Andrew Forrester, from Wales, was helping search for Madeleine and found the effort of Portuguese police underwhelming.

"To be honest, it seems as though there is very little going on," he said. "I'm sure they are trying, but the police presence doesn't seem to be massive, which I thought that maybe it would be."

Portuguese police said they were following procedures and that they operated differently than their counterparts in the UK.

"Some details can't be brought to the public because of the law. I ask the British people to understand things are not equal between UK and Portugal legal systems," said Olegario Sousa, a chief inspector with the Portuguese police.

Armando Ferreira, president of the National Police Union, also defended the search.

"Portuguese police are making a great effort. I have colleagues volunteering during their days off to help," he said, according to a Reuters news service report.

"We're doing everything to find the child alive," Reuters quoted Portugal's President Anibal Cavaco Silva as saying.

British soccer star David Beckham weighed in on the case Friday, making a video plea for information that could lead to the girl's safe return to her parents. "Please, please help us," Beckham pleads as he holds up a missing person poster for Madeleine. (Full story | Video)

While the British press was critical of the police efforts, the girl's family spared police of any criticism concerning the search.

"They're not trying to do a bad job," Gerry McCann said. "They're working very hard, they're giving information when it's appropriate. Let's give them our support."

A poster seeks information about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann near where she was staying in Portugal.




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