Italian police have freed a 25-year-old British man who was found barefooted and handcuffed in the room of an apartment where he had been held hostage for eight days.
The man from London, whose name has not yet been released, had been on holiday in Italy when he was allegedly kidnapped by a group of four people and held captive in Monte San Giusto, a town in Macerata province in the central Marche region.
His alleged captors allowed him to call his parents in the UK to ask them to send him €7,000, the amount demanded to secure his release, and via a coded message his parents understood that he was being held against his will.
The man’s father contacted the National Crime Agency (NCA), which in turn raised the alert with the Italian police.
Massimiliano Mengasini, a lieutenant colonel at the Macerata unit of Italy’s Ros Carabinieri special operations group, said the man was located and set free on Wednesday. Three men and a woman were arrested over the alleged kidnap.
“He had been kept in the dark room of an apartment, handcuffed and barefoot. We are still working to shed light on the case,” said Mengasini. The man was found in good physical health, despite having been fed sparingly. Police said he had been “psychologically tested” by the ordeal.
Sean Kelly, an operations manager for the NCA’s anti-kidnap and extortion unit (AKEU), said: “We have been working closely with the Italian authorities since the kidnap of a British man was reported.
“NCA officers in Italy and specialists from AKEU, working together with UK policing, have been providing close support to the carabinieri police as part of its ongoing investigation. We are pleased that this incident has been resolved successfully.”
The man told police he had been in Italy since early June after travelling to the country to escape the UK after the coronavirus lockdown.
Over the past few months he had visited several cities including Naples, Sorrento, Florence and Bologna, before arriving in Macerata. At the time of the kidnap the man was with a friend, who managed to escape and inform relatives in the UK.