Police say girl spotted is not Madeleine McCann

Queenstown Police are ''absolutely satisfied'' a girl spotted in Queenstown on New Year's Eve is not missing British girl Madeleine McCann.

In a statement released yesterday, Detective Sergeant Brian Cameron, of Queenstown, said police had identified the girl, but declined to release any details about the child.

''For the sake of privacy of the child involved, I'd rather not go into any detail at all.

''It's not the first time there's been a mistaken identity. It does relate to the same girl.''

On May 3, 2007, the 3-year-old went missing from the Ocean Club complex in Praia da Luz, Portugal, while on holiday with her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, brother Sean and sister Amelie.

A global hunt which ensued failed to find the child.

On December 5 that year, CCTV footage taken from The Warehouse in South Dunedin showed a girl similar to Madeleine being led into the store by a man.

In March 2010, police confirmed the sighting had been investigated and the child was not Madeleine.

Since her disappearance, several other people in Otago have claimed to have seen girls resembling Madeleine. Sightings have been reported in Milton, Alexandra and Queenstown.

On New Year's Eve, a Queenstown retailer contacted police after a young blond-haired girl entered her store with a man.

The woman said the girl had the same eye defect as Madeleine - a rare blemish on the right eye called a coloboma of the iris - and neither the girl or the man she was with spoke while being served.

After contacting police, the woman also called the 24-hour Find Madeleine hotline. British police then contacted police in Queenstown.

Det Sgt Cameron declined to give further details on where the girl was sighted because the informant did not want any ''undue publicity''.