A couple of points in respect of these latest reports.
There is no reason to believe any item discovered in a tip some 25 years after Ben disappeared got there by sinister means. South Yorkshire Police are being extremely coy in relation to their find which most probably was a toy and not clothing. Children play in mounds of earth and sand all the time so in the absence of any real evidence this find is hardly significant.
The second point relates to the ending of the search and the announcement of a find. Why announce anything and why now? Why start a media frenzy at all? One could be forgiven for thinking that SYP needed something to bring closure to this event and pointing the finger at some dead digger driver was all too convenient. In fact, can anyone see a similarity with another case?
Kerry has, herself, identified the toy they found as Ben's.
I am inclined to agree that use of sniffer dogs might well have aided the search and I'm not sure why none was brought in.
But I think identification of the toy strongly suggests police are on the right track.
Obviously I feel dreadfully sorry for Kerry.
This is a fairly good article from The Telegraph
An eerie silence fell over a dusty patch of farmland on the Aegean island of Kos on Friday as five days of intensive efforts by British police to find the possible remains of missing toddler Ben Needham came to a jarring halt.
Mechanical diggers and Bobcat excavators lay idle and officers from South Yorkshire police left the site after the owner of the land demanded that the search immediately stop.
Four 1,500-year-old stone tombs were discovered by the British investigation on Thursday and the landowner, Stefanos Troumouhis, was worried that his land would be declared a protected archaeological site and he would be prevented from farming or developing it.
Three hours of intense negotiation ensued between police officers, local magistrates and Mr Troumouhis, who was eventually placated with the promise that the land would remain in his hands.
“I was told officially by the magistrate in Kos that we needed to leave the site. But I’m pleased to say we’re back up and running,” said Detective Inspector Jon Cousins, who is leading the search.
Ben Needham was just 21 months old when he vanished on the holiday island of Kos 25 years ago
Ben Needham was just 21 months old when he vanished CREDIT: HELPFINDBEN.CO.UK
Asked if he was confident that the operation would not be delayed again, he said: “Twenty-five years’ experience as a police officer has taught me to take each day as it comes. In an investigation of this magnitude, you are going to have issues coming from the blindside.”
Mr Troumouhis owns an olive grove adjacent to the farmhouse where Ben was playing when he disappeared on a hot day in July 1991.
The 21-month-old boy was in the care of his grandparents, Eddie and Christine Needham, because his mother, Kerry, who was 19 at the time, had gone to work in a nearby hotel.
The olive grove could be key to the search for Ben because it contains an area of organic decomposition that British experts have not yet been able to identify.
The legal challenge may only have caused a temporary delay in the operation, but it underlined the formidable judicial, forensic and practical challenges faced by the British team as they seek clues as to what exactly happened to Ben, whose family is from Sheffield.
Excavation begins in search of Ben Needham's bodyPlay! 01:09
Police, dressed in crisp blue shorts with dark baseball caps to ward off the intense autumn sunshine, have spent the past week raking through tonnes of bone-dry dust and soil that has been dug up from the property.
They are looking for bones and fragments of bone after a tip-off from an islander in May that Ben may have been accidentally crushed by a digger which was operating on the site, operated by a local builder, Konstantinos ‘Dino’ Barkas. If Mr Barkas did have anything to do with Ben’s death, he took his secret to the grave when he died last year of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 62.
Detectives revealed this week that they are drawing on the very latest expertise in forensic science, pioneered by an institute known as “the Body Farm” in the US.
Human bodies are left to rot in various different conditions at the facility in Tennessee, which is officially known as the Forensic Anthropology Center. Dozens of bodies are scattered over a two-acre patch of woodland, some left in cars, others tied up in plastic bags and some hanging in nooses – enabling forensic specialists to study exactly how they decompose and what chemicals and nutrients they leave behind as they rot.
“My main task is to identify in space and time the areas associated with Ben’s disappearance. I’m confident we will find traces. It’s just a matter of time,” Dr Karl Harrison, a British forensic archaeologist working with the police, told The Telegraph.
His company, Preston-based Alecto Forensics, has helped identify victims from the mass casualty terrorist attacks of September 2001 in the US and the July 2005 London bombings, as well as victims of massacres in the Balkans and the Haiti earthquake of 2010.
Dr Harrison also worked on the investigation into the 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Praia da Luz in Portugal, but says the Needham search is easier because it is being conducted over a smaller area – just the field and olive grove either side of the farmhouse.
“As a site, it is relatively unchanged and undeveloped. We are looking for general clutter, from old drinks cans to food packets with English writing on the packaging and children’s toys.”
The challenge by the landowner forced DI Cousins to cancel a trip to see Ben’s mother, Kerry Needham, who is believed to be staying on the Turkish coast, a short ferry ride away from Kos. The purpose of the trip was to explain to her the progress that the British and Greek team have made so far.
In an interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Friday, Kerry’s daughter, Leighanna, 22, who was born after Ben’s disappearance, said the family were braced for the worst – that police will find the remains of the little boy.
"None of us want to believe that they’re going to find something there, because that’s 25 years of fighting and pain and hurt that could have been ended 25 years ago.
"We’re a family that’s lived in hope and what do you when that hope’s all gone? How do you continue when there’s nothing left?” she said.
I don't know why they haven't used dogs, but I'm sure there's a good reason.
Perhaps those, particular, conditions are not best suited to a dog's deployment?
I really don't know.
But I think the article gives a fairly good reflection of something of the background to the difficulties faced in the search for Ben (RIP).