Police have revealed that they believe Sheffield toddler Ben Needham died in an accident near a farmhouse where he was last seen on the Greek island of Kos in 1991.
The revelation came during a press conference from the island at 12pm UK time today.
Police also revealed that they have found a 'significant item' which they believe Ben had in his possession when he disappeared.
Detective Inspector Jon Cousins, the Senior Investigating Officer in Operation Ben, said: " It is my professional belief that Ben Needham died as a result of an accident near to the farmhouse in Iraklis where he was last seen playing.
“My team and I know that machinery, including a large digger, was used to clear an area of land on 24 July 1991, behind the farmhouse that was being renovated by the Needham’s.
“The events leading up to and following that incident have been explored by my team of experts to great lengths. The fact that we have not had a direct result during this visit to Kos does not preclude the facts that we know to be true.
“An item found on Saturday, which I have shown personally to some of Ben’s family, was found in one of the targeted areas at the second site, very close to a dated item from 1991.
“It is our initial understanding that this item was in Ben’s possession around the time he went missing.
“The recovery of this item, and its location, further adds to my belief that material was removed from the farmhouse on or shortly after the day that Ben disappeared.
“Ben’s family have been provided with a full and thorough account of the events which we know to have taken place and also the speculations that we have been able to discount. Our thoughts are with the family as they are given time to digest this and they have our full and continued support.