27/09/2016 08:58 BST | Updated 28/09/2016 09:46 BST

Ben Needham: Fabric And Bones Found In Dig For Missing Toddler

'Everything is being carefully looked at'


UPDATE: Sandals And Newly Planted Tree Are Latest Clues In Ben Needham Dig

Police searching for missing toddler Ben Needham on the holiday island of Kos have found information of “slight interest” - including fabric - following an initial excavation of a site close to where he was last seen.

A 19-strong team of South Yorkshire Police officers, forensic specialists and an archaeologist have been scouring an arid stretch of farmland where 21-month-old Ben was playing a quarter of a century ago.

Digger teams were brought in on Monday afternoon to break up the clay-like ground.

PA/PA Archive
Ben Needham went missing in 1991 

It was the first day of a fresh excavation at the site following new evidence that the Sheffield toddler may have been killed and buried there, yards from where he vanished while his grandfather was renovating a property.

Detective Inspector Jon Cousins, from South Yorkshire Police, said the team - joined by local search and rescue volunteers - had made good progress in recovering potential evidence.

In comments reported by the Press Association, he said: “We found, as expected, a vast number of bones yesterday. Each one was examined immediately, and each one was discounted there and then as being an animal bone.

Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Officers from South Yorkshire Police excavating land in the hunt for the missing toddler 
Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
A vast number of animal bones have been found 

“There are some other items that are of slight interest - the odd piece of fabric. That is being analysed and looked at, but there is slight interest.

“Everything is being carefully looked at.”

He added: “We want to make sure: do they or do they not relate to any of the items Ben was wearing on that day?”

The toddler was wearing a white and green shirt and a pair of leather sandals on the day he went missing, July 24 1991.

Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
A digger was used to investigate an olive grove near the scene where Ben went missing 

The items have been forensically collected and photographs sent to colleagues back in the UK before a decision is made on whether they require further examination and testing.

Mr Cousins, the senior investigating officer, said: “We got ahead of time which meant we got digging a little bit earlier than I expected.

“So far it is going better than to plan, which I’m pleased about.”

Searches of the site, around two miles (3.2km) east of the Greek island’s historic town centre, are expected to last for at least a week.