Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Ben Needham search team target Kos digger site

Ben Needham
Image caption Ben Needham vanished on the Greek island of Kos in July 1991 when he was 21 months old

Police searching for missing toddler Ben Needham are excavating the area near to where it has been claimed he was crushed to death by a digger.

Ben, from Sheffield, was 21 months old when he disappeared on the Greek island of Kos on 24 July 1991.

Earlier this month, it was alleged digger driver ­Konstantinos Barkas may be responsible for his death.

A search team of 19 officers, forensic specialists and an archaeologist have been digging for six days.

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Media captionWith the aid of drone footage, Det Insp Jon Cousins, South Yorkshire Police, explains the search area
Image caption The search is expected to last about a week

BBC reporter Danny Savage, who is in Kos, said: "They are clearing an area where the digger driver who is believed to have accidentally run Ben over on the day that he disappeared was working at the time.

"They are clearing the trees and then they will be bringing in the earth mover to start digging up the site.

"There is an air of optimism. They are here on pretty solid information that they believe Ben was killed in an accident on that day in July 1991. They believe that they can find the remains of Ben."

Image caption Police were asked to stop searching farmland by the owner because of a dispute over the discovery of archaeological remains at the site

The search was briefly held up on Friday after officers uncovered ancient graves and were asked to stop by the landowner.

However, the search resumed after concerns about the tombs were resolved.

Image copyright Kostas Kallergis
Image caption About five ancient graves in Kos were discovered at the farmland where police were digging

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