New hope in hunt for Ben. WITH VIDEO

THE mum of missing Ben Needham today told of the "biggest breakthrough" in the case for years - after Greek police launched a nationwide hunt to find the Sheffield teenager.

Speaking on her son's 18th birthday today, Kerry revealed that for the first time in the case's 16-year history the Athens-based force has contacted British authorities and asked to help.

Now, in an unprecedented move, Greek police are about to launch a nationwide poster campaign in an effort to find the teenager, who vanished from outside a farmhouse in the holiday island of Kos on July 24, 1991.

"For the first time ever police in Athens have phoned the Foreign Office. That is a huge breakthrough because the police over there have never made contact with authorities in Britain before," said Kerry.

"They said they are going to put posters up across the whole country, which is fantastic news. They have never done this before - until now the only people putting posters up over there were us.

"This has given me new hope and it is certainly a high point for me. It is the biggest breakthrough for many, many years," she added.

Kerry, a 34-year-old receptionist from Ecclesfield, Sheffield, hopes the posters will be put up in bars, clubs, public buildings and airports across Greece.

Each poster will feature a recently generated computer image of what Ben could look like now.

Kerry is set to travel to Greece in the coming months to build on the renewed interest in the case, and thank the authorities and public for their support.

"I am not getting my hopes up - I know Ben isn't going to walk through my door tomorrow - but this is a significant development.

"I know Ben is out there somewhere. All it takes is one phone call."

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I will never stop searching.