Man who thought he could be missing Sheffield toddler Ben Needham returned negative DNA test

A man who thought he could be missing Sheffield toddler Ben Needham returned a negative DNA test, detectives revealed.

Tuesday, 17th May 2016, 7:17 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th May 2016, 8:21 am
Det Supt Matt Fenwick, DI Jon Cousins, Kerry Needham, Ben's sister Leighanna and gran Christine

South Yorkshire detectives investigating the disappearance of Ben Needham on the Greek island of Kos in 1991, made also fresh appeal for information on a missing persons programme and said they received ‘information of interest’.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “One man’s DNA was taken by the team in Kos last week following information received via the Helpfindben page which suggested he could be Ben.

Missing Ben Needham

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“Tests have confirmed that the man in question is not Ben Needham. The Operation Ben team will remain in Kos for another week exploring various lines of enquiry.”

The force has said they have received nearly 300 pieces of information since they landed on the Greek island to carry out further enquiries into Ben’s disappearance more than 25 years ago.

Detectives are sifting through information provided in 114 phone calls after an appearance on a popular Greek TV show.

Detective Inspector Jon Cousins, leading the search team, said the response had been ‘great’ and residents on the island felt ‘comfortable’ speaking to officers.

Missing Ben Needham

He said: “There has been a great response, not only here in the studio but I am aware of 114 calls to the telephones we are utilising with the officers who are out here in Greece.

“There has been some information which is of interest and it is something we are going to work on over the next few days.

“The show has done extremely well, it does reach out to the right people and I believe we will get some answers from this.

“One of the key benefits to us being in Kos is that local people have felt comfortable in coming forward and speaking to us.

“They desperately want answers.”

Officers made an appeal for information on the disappearance of Ben on the Light at the End of the Tunnel show on Friday night.

The show, broadcast from Athens, is watched by six million viewers.

Ben, from Sheffield, went missing in 1991 while he was playing outside a remote farmhouse his grandfather was renovating.

A £10,000 reward has been made available for information leading to the discovery of Ben.

The appeal also had a huge impact in the UK, with around 75 calls made to the team’s base in Sheffield, as well as messages via social media.