South Yorkshire Police prepare to start digs on Greek island in hunt for missing Ben Needham

Ben Needham

Ben Needham

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A police team from South Yorkshire will begin excavating two sites in Kos next week in the search for missing Ben Needham from Sheffield.

Work on the Greek island is due to begin on Monday, with detectives believing Ben, who was 21 months old when he disappeared in 1991, may have been accidentally buried by a digger working on a building site close to where the tot was last seen.

Detectives told Ben's mum, Kerry Needham, to 'prepare for the worst' after a man came forward claiming his friend could have buried Ben when he was clearing a building site on the day the toddler disappeared.

Ben had been playing outside a farmhouse his grandfather was renovating when he vanished.

The digger driver, who died last year, dumped material from the building plot at two sites, which are to be cordoned off by South Yorkshire Police and searched.

A force spokeswoman said: "This is due to new information received following a public appeal made by South Yorkshire Police officers in Kos in May this year.

"Those lines of enquiry have been explored and investigated over the last three months and will now result in digs at two sites on the island, close to where Ben was last seen on July 24, 1991.

"It is anticipated this first dig will take the team 10-12 days to complete.

"A cordon will be in place at the scene to protect the forensic work.

"Please be aware that it is entirely expected that the team will regularly come across bones in the ground as the site is former farmland. Any unusual items recovered will be subject to forensic testing.

"The site will be gridded as part of the excavation plan and there will be a number of forensic tents present, which will be moved around the site as required – this is a planned approach and is not unusual for such an operation.

"It is possible that an excavation will be carried out at a second site once work at the first site is over.

"The policing team will be there for some time and the excavation will be painstaking and slow."

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