On 16 September police began a search for remains, in a different area from the one searched nearly four years earlier.Excavations were focused around a tree, apparently planted since Ben vanished.Cousins said: "My team and I know that machinery, including a large digger, was used to clear an area of land on 24 July 1991, behind the farmhouse that was being renovated by the Needhams.
Cookson said that the child was known as 'the blond one' by his friends and was the only fair haired child in the group of dark haired Greek children.
Suspicious, he took photographs of the children and used the pretext of tousling the boy's head to acquire a hair sample for DNA analysis.
we know about it; if we don't know, it isn't happening.
Those of us who properly investigated Ben's disappearance are certain he was not [abducted]; put bluntly, a child less than 2, toddling unsupervised for five hours on a baking, remote, inhospitable hillside that is still largely unsearched, is easy prey to the lonely accident." In September 1992, South Yorkshire police used electronic facial identification technique (E-FIT) software to produce an image of how Ben might appear at age 3.
The operation, involving geophysical survey equipment, forensic archaeologists and human remains detection (HRD) dogs, was triggered by a police line of inquiry into whether Ben had been accidentally buried as a result of an excavator driver dumping building rubble nearby.