Portuguese detectives are investigating the attempted abduction of a Dutch girl by a man who matches the description of a suspect in the Madeleine McCann case.

The 15-year-old was walking home from a supermarket in the tiny fishing village of Senhora da Rocha when she was followed by a man in a black Jeep with tinted windows.

After a few minutes, he pulled up in front of her and opened the driver's door so she could not get past.

He then tried to entice her into the vehicle, and when she tried to escape, he grabbed her and tried to pull her in.

The girl managed to fight him off, with the attacker driving off when a car approached from the opposite direction.

She described the man as about 40 years old, with long hair in a pony tail and gold rings on his fingers.

This matches the description of the man Kate and Gerry McCann believe snatched their daughter, 30 miles away in the coastal resort of Praia da Luz.

He was between 35 and 40-years-old and had long, straggly hair, according to witnesses who saw a man acting suspiciously near the holiday apartment where Madeleine vanished almost a year ago.

The 4-year-old disappeared from her parents' vacation apartment on May 3 and police were given a description of the man later that month.

An FBI-trained artist produced sketches using information from vacationer Gail Cooper, who was staying 600 yards away at the time.

The father of the Dutch girl — who does not want to be named — told Sky News Online: "I am lucky she is a strong girl and managed to break free and get away from the man.

"She was walking back from the supermarket as she does on an almost daily basis, at around 6 p.m., when it happened.

"The man in the black Jeep followed her and then stopped a few yards in front of her and tried to get her in the car. "He had his trousers down, and was talking to her. He then grabbed her but my daughter fought him. Another car arrived and he drove off. I don't know what brand of Jeep he had but my daughter said it had a yellow foreign number plate.

"The police are investigating it, and have taken down all the details."

The teen gave officers a detailed description of the attacker, which has been circulated to other authorities in Portugal.

The incident, which occured on March 11, was originally being dealt with by the local police force but this week was passed to specialist officers in Portimao — the same force investigating Madeleine's disappearance.

Portuguese police refused to comment on the case when contacted by Sky News Online or whether they are linking it to Madeleine's disappearance.

Villagers are wary of discussing the case over fears it may put off tourists from coming to the area.

But some said there was a similar incident recently, involving a young girl on a bus home from school in nearby Armação de Pêra.

She told her mother a car pulled up alongside the bus near Alcantarilha and the driver had his pants down and was exposing himself to her.