A human rights lawyer has helped the family of Ben Needham secure funding to continue the search for the missing toddler.

Ian Brownhill, a barrister with No5 Chambers, wrote to the Home Office asking why it has taken 10 months to reply to a funding request from South Yorkshire Police.

This afternoon it was confirmed that £700,000 will be made available from April to pay for English detectives to travel to Greece to continue the search for Ben.

Ben was just 21 months old when he went missing from the Greek island of Kos in 1991.

Mr Brownhill stepped in to help the family after seeing their @FindBenNeedham campaign on twitter. He offered his services free of charge.

He said: “Historically, my family has come from the same village outside Sheffield as Ben, and I remember as a child when he went missing. It had a huge impact on everyone when it happened, and when I saw their appeal on twitter I thought I could be of assistance.

“This is good news for the family. South Yorkshire Police aim to work in collaboration with Greek police to follow up information that the family say has not been properly investigated.”