Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Missing Ben Needham: New leads from Greek TV appeal

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Media captionBen, from Sheffield, vanished when he was 21 months old during a family holiday on the island of Kos

A TV appeal for help in finding a toddler who went missing 24 years ago has generated "seven very strong possible leads".

Ben Needham, from Sheffield, vanished when he was 21 months old during a 1991 family holiday on the island of Kos.

Kerry Needham, Ben's mother, appeared on Greek television on Friday to make a fresh appeal for her son.

She later said a man who contacted the show saying he resembled Ben was "old information".

In a post on the Help Find Ben Facebook page, a member of the support team wrote: "Just to make things clear, as Kerry previously stated, the man who called the show is an old lead.

"However, we do have seven new very strong possible leads."

South Yorkshire Police said about 30 calls and emails were received following the broadcast.

Officers also confirmed the appeal generated some seven new lines of inquiry, which would be explored further in partnership with the Greek authorities.

'Never stop looking'

Det Supt Matt Fenwick said: "We have received lots of information over the last 24 hours - some new information and some which correlates to information we already have in our possession.

"We will now work with the Greek police to review that information to move the inquiry forward."

The television programme, the English translation of which is Light at the End of the Tunnel, broadcasts to about 50% of the Greek TV audience.

Earlier this year, South Yorkshire Police was granted Home Office funding to support the Greek authorities in continuing inquiries to find Ben.

Image copyright South Yorkshire Police
Image caption Ben's mother, grandmother and sister took part in the programme on Greek television
Image copyright TRIS ROSSIN/PA
Image caption Ben Needham went missing from the Greek island of Kos in 1991

Kerry Needham has always maintained her son, who would now be 25, is still alive.

"It is just a feeling I have inside myself," she said.

"It feels like he is saying 'come on I am here, come and get me'. I believe he's out there, I don't think its going to be long, we are going to get somewhere. I am hopeful anyway.

"I want him to know, as his mum, I love him as much today as the day he was born. I will never never stop looking for him."

She said the amount of public support the family had received after the programme was "overwhelming".

Ben's grandmother Christine and his sister Leighanna also participated in the programme.

Ben vanished on 24 July, 1991, having travelled to Kos with his mother and grandparents who were renovating a farmhouse in the village of Iraklise.

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