Missing Ben 'may be in Scandinavia' clues

A private detective looking for missing Sheffield boy Ben Needham today accused South Yorkshire Police of not helping his search.

Ian Crosby attacked the force as Ben's mother Kerry marked her missing son's 14th birthday, more than 12 years on from his disappearance in the Greek island Kos.

He has spent the last two weeks in Kos searching for evidence about Ben and says he has uncovered vital clues suggesting the boy could be in Scandinavia.

But he claims his efforts have been frustrated because the police team in Sheffield have not even returned his calls. He said: "Nobody seems to be doing anything. I tried to ring them from Kos, and they have not even had the courtesy to return my calls.

"I had three meetings with the chief of police out there and I believe I am closer to closing this case."

Mr Crosby says he tracked down the manager of the hotel where Kerry and Ben's grandmother Christine worked in the summer of 1991, just before Ben disappeared.

He has been told a Scandinavian travel firm was the hotel's main customer at that time, and that there were two couples at the hotel who had shown an interest in Ben but were never traced.

One of the couples had a child and were thought to be Scandinavian, while the other couple were recovering from the death of one, it is thought.

Mr Crosby said: "Ben is still alive. I believe it, his mother believes it, South Yorkshire Police believe it and the police in Kos believe it. I believe that sooner or later I will discover the whereabouts of this child."

Mr Crosby has enlisted the help of celebrity psychic Uri Geller to help raise the profile of his search. He has also launched a campaign website: www.benneedham.info

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "Just four months ago we publicly said we'd not given up the hope of tracing Ben and that statement still stands today.

"In June South Yorkshire Police, together with the private investigator, issued an updated digital image of how Ben may look, with help from the Metropolitan Police (who produced the image), and on behalf of the National Missing Persons' Bureau.

"The force has invested a significant amount of time and effort over the years into this case and are still keen to follow up any realistic lines of inquiry."

Any sightings of Ben should be reported on freephone 0808 100 8777 or e-mail uk.missingkids@gtnet.gov.uk