Search team travels to Kos to look for missing Sheffield toddler Ben Needham

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A SEARCH team is to start digging on the Greek island of Kos tomorrow to look for the remains of a Sheffield toddler who disappeared in 1991.

Ben Needham was 21 months old when he vanished on the holiday isle while he was visiting his grandparents, who were renovating a farmhouse.

Tomorrow a team of search experts, led by South Yorkshire detective Matt Fenwick, are to dig up an area of land where it is feared the little boy may have been accidentally buried.

Recent investigations into the disappearance established that a JCB driver was dumping rubble and mounds of earth in a field near to where Ben was playing on the day he vanished.

Ben’s mum Kerry, 41, from Ecclesfield, said she still believes her son is alive but wants the area of rubble dug up to rule out the theory that Ben’s remain may be there.

“This is an elimination process , and that’s how I’m dealing with it.

“It’s one of the most important things to happen in 21 years.

“I really feel South Yorkshire Police are determined to help me find out exactly what has happened to Ben.

“This has been a 21-year nightmare you don’t wake up from.”

The dig is expected to take upto 10 days.

Det Sup Fenwick, leading the search, said: “There are multiple lines of inquiry at the moment that are certainly possibilities as to what’s happened to Ben, but this is just one line of inquiry, that, by the work that we propose, should finalise that to the best we can.”

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “South Yorkshire Police is leading a team of specialist search advisers who have travelled to the Greek Island of Kos to support the Greek authorities as they search for missing Sheffield toddler Ben Needham.

“Greek police are pursuing a line of enquiry centred on the grounds of the property from which Ben disappeared in 1991 aged 21 months.

“Beginning tomorrow work will begin to examine the ground, including using geophysical ground examination equipment, to determine whether any area should be dug. “Other specialist resources include a forensic archaeologist and search dogs.

“The operation, expected to last a week to 10 days, follows a Greek police request for specialist support to follow through a line of enquiry they have developed. “During the past 18 months, South Yorkshire Police has also reviewed all material held by the Greek police in relation to Ben’s disappearance in order to support the Greek inquiry. “South Yorkshire Police has also obtained Ben’s DNA from Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

“South Yorkshire Police has for a number of years supported Ben’s mum Kerry and other members of the family.”