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  1. ITV Report

Exclusive: The toy car found in the Ben Needham search

  • Video report by ITV Calendar News Producer Mark Witty

This is the toy car that police found in their excavation of Kos in the search for Ben Needham this month.

South Yorkshire Police recovered the toy during digs that were taking place close to where the Sheffield toddler disappeared in 1991.

More than 70 exhibits were found in the search for Ben Needham on Kos this month Credit: PA

It prompted the detective who was leading the operation to say that it was his "professional belief" that Ben was dead.

The Mercedes "race" car is made by the Chinese company Summer and was imported to Kos from China.

It was found on October 15 – the day before the search was due to end – at a second site that was being excavated, next to a tin can which experts dated to 1991.

It was shown to Ben's grandmother, who is said to be "90 per cent sure" the car belonged to him. But his sister, Leigh-Anna, says she cannot accept that he is dead until conclusive proof is found.

Ben Needham went missing in Kos 25 years ago

Officers believe digger driver Konstantinos Barkas knocked Ben down close to the farmhouse that was being renovated by the Needham family before burying him nearby.

In response to questions from Calendar South Yorkshire Police say the funding for Operation Ben will be in place until the end of November to allow for the forensic analysis of items brought back from Kos to the UK. Funding was due to end on October 31.

The Operation Ben email address will remain open and will be monitored by police.

The family of Mr Barkas, who died last year, maintain he was innocent and Ben's body has not been found.

Tomorrow the family will mark Ben's 27th birthday. The Facebook page set up to support the search for him is asking people to change their profile picture to that of the toddler, who was 21 months old when he went missing.

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