Signs of decomposition found on land close to where Ben Needham was last seen

Ben Needham
Ben Needham
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South Yorkshire detectives searching for the remains of Ben Needham say soil sample analysis has revealed signs of decomposition

Speaking from close to the spot where the 21-month-old vanished in July 1991, Detective Inspector Jon Cousins said experts from America and Aberdeen University have been involved in the analysis work, which he said was 'groundbreaking ' and 'new science'.

He said some of the soil samples collected in April last year and which showed signs of decomposition were examined and narrowed down to a dead bat and dead dog.

They suspect human waste from an underground cess pit could also be responsible for the signs of decomposition found in some of the soil.

Work is still underway on one sample, which DI Cousins said revealed 'nutrients consistent with the decomposition of something'.

Detectives are today continuing to dig the land close to where Ben was last seen alive in July 1991.

They received a tip-off in June from a friend of a digger driver, who died last year but who had been clearing a building plot near to where Ben went missing.

The friend said he suspected the driver may have accidentally buried the tot.

Material from the building plot was moved to two sites on Kos, which are both due to be excavated.

Ben's mum, Kerry Needham, from Ecclesfield, was told to 'prepare for the worst' when detectives told her about the planned excavation work, which began on Monday.