A TEAM of officers from the South Yorkshire Police force are being sent to the island of Kos in Greece to look for new witnesses in the search for Ben Needham, who went missing almost 25 years ago.
The toddler, then aged 21 months, disappeared on July 24, 1991, after travelling to the island with his mother and grandmother on holiday.
There have been many theories and possible sightings of the youngster over the years, who would now be aged 26.
A new official campaign to find Ben has been created by his mother, Kerry, which will see officers fly out to Kos on Tuesday May 10 whilst the South Yorkshire Police Force announced that extra funding had been received from the Home Office to help with the search.
The campaign said in a statement that the officers were travelling to Kos to “find new witnesses as they urge islanders to come forward with any information which might help the case.”
A news conference at the site where Ben went missing is due to take place. The spot, a farmhouse in Irakles was Ben’s last known location, as he was taken by his grandmother Christine Needham to visit his grandfather as he renovated the run-down building.
Ms Needham said: “We believe someone on Kos does know something – and if they do please come forward. It doesn’t matter how insignificant they think it is – if they have information let the police know.”
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings secured £700,000 in January to continue the investigation, and this year an additional £450,000 was approved by the Home Secretary.
In 2012, land near the farmhouse was excavated in search of the little boy but nothing has ever been found.
The latest funding has been granted after calls for a new investigation due to claims that the original investigation was not properly carried out.
Detective Inspector Jon Cousins commented on the case: “The lives of Ben Needham’s family were ripped apart when he disappeared more than 20 years ago and their determination to find him has not diminished.
“They are more desperate than ever to find answers about what happened to him.
“It is likely that someone out there knows what happened to him and we will be appealing to people in Kos who have information to come forward and tell us what they know.
“The force is working closely with the Greek authorities to ensure a number of lines of existing inquiry are explored.”