Moment it seemed they’d found Mikaeel Kular

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A HUGE police operation was scrambled to woodland near Granton last night amid reports of a boy “whimpering” in the undergrowth - as a new front opened in the hunt for missing three-year-old Mikaeel Kular.

The urgent midnight search is believed to have unearthed a bloodied handkerchief but there was no sign of the young boy police had been hoping to trace since 7.15am on Thursday.

• Click here for the latest updates on the search for Mikaeel Kular.

A foxes’ den discovered in the undergrowth may have been the source of the “high pitched” cries heard in the area close to Marine Drive, it is understood.

Dozens of torch-wielding officers conducted fingertip searches in thicket close to World of Football pitches as a circling police helicopter beamed a powerful light onto the operation below.

Police sealed off the area at around 11pm as a convoy of support vehicles carrying sniffer dogs and specialist search teams swarmed the area.

A walking search of greens around Edinburgh College concluded the operation which was stood down after about two hours at 1am.