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Futile Ben hunt boosts mother hope

The mother of Ben Needham, who went missing on a Greek holiday island 21 years ago, has vowed to continue looking for him after a new police operation failed to find his remains.

A team of British and Greek police and other experts began a search two weeks ago of land close to the farmhouse on Kos where the 21-month-old disappeared in 1991. But, after nothing was found, Kerry Needham said she had been given fresh hope that her son may still be alive.

Mrs Needham told BBC Breakfast: "In all honesty, I didn't believe that Ben was buried there anyway. I had been supported and advised by South Yorkshire Police that this line of inquiry needed to be done as part of an elimination process.

"It's just something that needed to be done, I didn't believe he was there for one minute."

She went on: "We can now concentrate on opening another campaign, a worldwide search again. I have always believed he is out there somewhere. It's difficult because the world is a very big place but with the help of the media and the internet, it's just a case of keep getting that message out now to someone, to him himself."

Ben, from Sheffield, would have turned 23 on Monday. His family continue to buy birthday cards and light a candle every year to mark the day.

Mrs Needham said she believes her son was was abducted to be sold through legal adoption and described the search for him as "tiring and heart-breaking".

"Living like this every day of my life, keeping up the search, if I thought for one minute that Ben wasn't alive I would give up, wouldn't I? Something drives me on every day to keep looking."

Ben vanished after travelling to Kos with his mother and grandparents, Eddie and Christine, who were renovating a farmhouse in the village of Iraklise.

Over the years there have been a number of possible sightings and a range of theories about what happened to him. The new police operation focused on a mound of earth and rubble close to where Ben was last seen.

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