The mound of earth on Kos where police think Ben Needham may have been buried
DETECTIVES probing the disappearance of British toddler Ben Needham 21 years ago believe they may have found his grave.
They want to examine tons of earth piled up yards from where the 21-month-old vanished on the Greek island of Kos in 1991.
And authorities in the country are trying to get British police to provide hi-tech 3D scanners capable of detecting human bones buried beneath rubble.
A source close to the investigation said: â€œThe officers who worked on the case last year told me they want to dig up the mound.â€
JCB driver Konstantinos Barkas â€“ who was excavating earth for a new house yards away during the hours that Ben went missing â€“ has also been tracked down.
Barkas, 61, said: â€œYes, I was the man with the JCB that day. Loads of earth was being taken to clear the ground for the new house down the road.
â€œI think people were misled in thinking the child was abducted.â€
Our source has three theories:
* Ben was accidentally buried after wandering off.
* Ben was the victim of a fatal accident which someone wanted to hide by placing him in a shallow grave, knowing it would be further covered by tons of earth.
* Ben was murdered and buried at the site in the east of the island to conceal the crime.
He went missing on July 24, 1991, when his mum Kerry, only 19 at the time, left him with her parents Eddie and Christine while she went to work in a hotel.
The couple, from Sheffield, took Ben to a farmhouse owned by Greek friend Michaelis Kypreos.
The grandparents were eating lunch when Christine realised Ben had gone quiet while playing outside. They couldnâ€™t find him and police were eventually contacted.
Greek cops are increasingly convinced the most likely explanation is that Ben, who would be 23 this year, died on the day he vanished.
Detective Chief Inspector Matt Fenwick, of South Yorkshire Police, visited the island last year with a colleague when the case was relaunched. The British team were told about the burial theory, along with other lines of inquiry.
A Greek source said: â€œThis idea is a lot more plausible than Ben being abducted.
â€œA stranger would have needed to be watching the house and then would have snatched him in broad daylight before secreting him off the island by boat or plane.
â€œThe officers sent to Kos from Athens to head up the new team last year think Ben could have been covered over with soil and stones when the truck driver emptied a load of earth.â€
Local shopkeeper Xanthippi Agrelli, who has been interviewed by police, believes Ben could have accidentally died and somehow ended up in the mound.
She said: â€œI think it was a terrible accident, nothing more.â€
On the day Ben went missing, a handful of officers arrived in the dark at the house in tiny Iraklis. The patch of land now covered by the mound was thick with rubble and rubbish from building work.
Today, it forms a steep bank two-feet deep in grass and weeds, which have grown over soil and lumps of concrete.
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman confirmed the force are â€œundertaking a reviewâ€ of the Greeksâ€™ latest findings.
There have been more than 300 false sightings of Ben in Greece and across Europe.
Kerryâ€™s theory is that Ben was snatched from the property by someone driving a white car.
Kos Police Colonel Sentonas St Stergos said: â€œMore than anything we want to help bring this nightmare to an end for Benâ€™s parents. They have to know what happened.â€
Police believe missing UK toddler Ben Needham may be buried under mound of earth on Greek island