South Yorkshire Police say they have found no evidence to link to a Greek Gypsy family to the disappearance of Ben Needham 24-years ago.
Ben disappeared from Kos in July 1991. In the last week officers have been in northern Greece investigating claims that a particular family may have been responsible, but no link was found. The team also followed up leads resulting from a Greek TV appeal , but police say nothing of significance has yet emerged from the calls.
Over the past week, a team of officers from South Yorkshire Police have been in the northern region of mainland Greece, thoroughly investigating claims made over the past 20 years that a particular family may have been responsible for the disappearance of Ben Needham from the island of Kos in July 1991.
That investigation has not found any evidence to link that family to Ben's disappearance, or that they have any knowledge of his current whereabouts. The team has also followed up many leads which came as a result of the direct appeal to the Greek people, speaking with several of those who came forward. Although some of those enquiries are yet to be finalised, there is nothing of significance at this time to identify how Ben disappeared or his current whereabouts.
The investigation is continuing to ensure that all further potential lines of enquiry are pursued and we are ensuring Ben's family is kept updated.
Police in South Yorkshire are to examine another lead which emerged after the case of Ben Needham was featured on Greek TV last night.
It is the second time in a week the story has taken centre stage on one of the country's most popular programmes.
The programme "Light at the End of the Tunnel" ran updates on the show last night after an appearance by Ben's family and South Yorkshire Police the week before prompted hundred of calls and emails about Ben's disappearance from Kos in July 1991.
That appeal created seven leads described by South Yorkshire Police as "potentially interesting".
Last night the programme ran Calendar footage of Kerry's reaction back in the UK and spoke to the Greek-born Police Inspector Panos Dedes , who has been seconded to South Yorkshire from Northumbria Police, who appealed for information.
Earlier in the programme a picture was sent which the presenter , Aggeliki Nikolouli, clearly believed had a resemblance to Ben .
This was forwarded to Inspector Dedes to show the Operation Ben team and the Needham family, who were watching the programme through a live web link.
It could be a number of weeks until all the calls from the programme on May 15 are followed up, but Kerry believes the Greek public have a major part to play in solving the family's 24-year agony.
The family of Ben Needham will lead a fresh appeal on Greek television tonight for information into the toddler's disappearance 24 years ago.
Ben's mother, Kerry, and South Yorkshire Police investigators will appear on the programme Light at the End of the Tunnel which tries to reunite missing people with their families
Calendar producer Mark Witty has made a film which will be broadcast to million in a major appeal on Greek television to try and find Ben Needham who vanished as a toddler on the holiday island of Kos almost 24 years ago.
Ben's mother Kerry, grandmother Christine and sister Leighanna will also take part in Friday's televised appeal alongside the new inquiry into his disapperance.
Also travelling to Greece to appear on the programme will be Calendar producer Mark Witty who spoke to Duncan Wood and Gaynor Barnes.
A major appeal is to be made on Greek television by both South Yorkshire police and the family of Ben Needham to try and find Ben who vanished as a toddler on the holiday island of Kos almost 24 years ago.
The detective leading the new - year long inquiry - into his disappearance will be alongside Ben's mother Kerry, grandmother Christine and sister Leighanna in Athens on Friday night to make the appeal.
Also travelling to Greece to appear on the programme will be Calendar's producer Mark Witty who has made a film which will be shown to millions on Friday.
South Yorkshire Police will make their first ever television appeal in Greece on Friday for information about the disappearance of Ben Needham
Two officers, including Detective Superintendent Matt Fenwick who is in charge of the case in the UK, will appear alongside Ben's mother Kerry, Ben's grandmother Christine and sister Leighanna.
The programme, called "Light at the End of the Tunnel" features cases of missing people and reaches millions of viewers in Greece. The show will give information about "Operation Ben" which was launched after a recent Home Office grant of £700,000 .
Calendar producer Mark Witty has also been invited onto the show by producers - the programme will feature two films made by Calendar as part of the appeal. ITV Yorkshire and "Light at the end of the Tunnel" have co-operated considerably since the 20th anniversary of Ben's disappearance in 2011.
Appeals made by the show, with Calendar's help, have brought forward a number of people with information. Some of the people who contacted the programme are being contacted by South Yorkshire Police as part of Operation Ben.
Ben disappeared from the Greek island of Kos in July 1991. Since then there have been hundreds of sightings but no trace of the toddler, who was 21 months old at the time.
Ben Needham's family have recently returned from Greece after meeting a man who believed he could be Ben Needham.Read the full story ›
Three generations of Ben Needham's family have travelled to Greece to follow up one of the strongest leads they've ever had since the toddler's disappearance.
Ben vanished from the holiday island of Kos in 1991 - but over the last few months his mother Kerry was contacted by someone who thinks he's Ben.
Kerry, his grandmother Christine and sister Leighanna went to meet him on mainland Greece.
The mother of Ben Needham, who went missing from Kos 24 years ago this July , hopes an open letter to her son will prompt more people to come forward with information.
Kerry Needham posted the message on her website asking for anyone who believes they might be Ben to get in touch, and telling her son that she loves him.
The message has also been translated into Greek, to target certain Facebook communities in the country.
The mother of missing toddler Ben Needham has issued a direct appeal to her son who went missing in Greece more than 20 years ago.
Kerry Needham has written a message on her website asking for anyone who believes they might be Ben to get in touch, and telling her son that she loves him.
Ben, from Sheffield, vanished on July 24 1991 after travelling to the Greek island of Kos with Mrs Needham and his grandparents.
Over the years there have been a number of possible sightings and a range of theories about what happened to the youngster, who would now be 25.
The message, which is also translated into Greek on the Help Find Ben Needham website, reads: "This is a direct appeal to anyone who is around 25 years old and possibly living with a family who you look nothing like, I beg you to get in contact with me.
"I promise to cause no problems for your family who you live with, I just want you to know the truth about what happened to you and to know you are healthy and happy.
"A simple DNA sample can be taken from you without causing any distress to anyone. So if you think you were born in 1989 and you have blue/grey eyes and a possible birthmark on your leg, YOU could be Ben!!!<
"Twenty-three years have gone by Ben and I love you just as much today as I did the day you were born, please anyone get in touch and end all this pain your family feel living without you."
Last month, the Home Office agreed to fund a team of British detectives to help search for the youngster after Ben's family engaged human rights barrister Ian Brownhill to help them.
South Yorkshire Police asked for the financial help to follow up information the family believe has never been properly investigated.
The funding is for the financial year from April 2015 and is for up to £700,000.
Ben's family have said they want South Yorkshire Police to investigate leads, including a file they have handed in that lists eight separate sightings from unconnected people of a boy who could potentially be Ben with the same Greek family.
The Home Office backed a South Yorkshire Police operation in 2012 when land was excavated on Kos, near the farmhouse from where Ben went missing. No trace of the boy was found.
Last year, a DNA test on a young man featured in video footage shot in Cyprus proved negative.