Cypriot police said Monday they were investigating claims that a British man believed kidnapped as a toddler on the Greek island of Kos in 1991 was sighted in Cyprus recently.
“An investigation has started and it was launched after we received a message from Interpol,” a police spokesman told AFP.
“But as yet there is nothing concrete to announce,” he added.
The case of Ben Needham was reignited after Greek authorities were handed a video of a man seen in Cyprus who resembles a computer-generated image of how he would look now, aged 23 (photo).
Ben’s family have been informed by Greek police about the video that shows a young man with a group of Roma people at a religious celebration near the southern coastal town of Limassol.
Police spokesman Andreas Angelides told English language Cyprus Daily on Monday that Cyprus police have mobilized all departments on the case.
He said the search will start in Limassol and might expand to other regions.
“What is important is that any tip-offs are investigated as soon as possible so that we can have results,” Angelides told the Cyprus Daily.
The anonymous person who filmed the video was prompted to hand it in to police last week after the case of Maria, the blond girl found in a Roma camp with Greek gypsies, in Farsala, central Greece, invited comparisons with that of missing Ben, who disappeared on a family holiday on Kos when he was 21 months old.
British media reported that Ben’s mother Kerry is planning to travel to Cyprus if evidence is found to be reliable.
If he is found, Greek detectives will want to DNA test the young man living with a Roma family in Cyprus, reports said.
The mystery man in the video clip is said to have light brown hair and blue eyes and moved to Cyprus with a Roma family a few years ago to avoid mandatory military service in Greece, according to Greek newspapers.
Ben vanished on July 24, 1991, while his grandparents Eddie and Christine Needham were looking after him on Kos.
He was playing outside the family farmhouse that was under renovation when, at approximately 2.30 in the afternoon, the adults realized he had disappeared. [AFP]