British tourist in Italy tied up and held hostage by gang is freed by police after kidnap ordeal

·3 min read
The raid was conducted by a special unit of the Carabinieri police. Stock image - Riccardo Fabi/NurPhoto via Getty Images
The raid was conducted by a special unit of the Carabinieri police. Stock image - Riccardo Fabi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A British tourist who was kidnapped in Italy and held for at least a week by a criminal gang has been freed in a raid conducted by police.

The four men who allegedly kidnapped the 25-year-old Briton, who has not yet been named, tried to extort €7,000 in exchange for his release, police said.

He was reportedly kidnapped at least eight days ago and held in an apartment, barefoot and handcuffed.

During a telephone conversation with his family, he was able to use some sort of code to tell them that he was being held hostage, police said.

Detectives managed to identify his location by tracking his mobile phone signal.

He was released in a raid conducted by a special unit of the Carabinieri police on Wednesday afternoon.

Four men arrested after police raid

Police gave details of the operation on Thursday. They said the young man had been on holiday in Italy when he was kidnapped.

The Carabinieri said they collaborated with the National Crime Agency in the operation to locate and free the man.

They found him tied up in an apartment in the village of Monte San Giusto, near the city of Macerata in central Italy.

The 25-year-old was found tied up in an apartment in Monte San Giusto, near the city of Macerata in central Italy - iStockphoto
The 25-year-old was found tied up in an apartment in Monte San Giusto, near the city of Macerata in central Italy - iStockphoto

Three of his alleged kidnappers were Italian, while the fourth was Moroccan.

They were arrested and remanded in custody in a prison near the city of Ancona.

Four people have been arrested after the raid in Monte San Giusto - Luigi Alesi/EyeEm
Four people have been arrested after the raid in Monte San Giusto - Luigi Alesi/EyeEm

Tourist left shaken by ordeal

Police said his captors had forced the Briton to call his family and request that they pay a ransom for his release.

But officers are curious as to why the amount was so derisory.

“There are still many aspects that need to be clarified,” said Colonel Francesco D’Ecclesiis, the commander of the Carabinieri unit involved in the operation.

Police said the British tourist was physically unharmed but very shaken by his ordeal.

Colonel Nicola Candido, who was also involved in the operation, said: "His family, who are fairly wealthy, received a message from him and contacted the British police and the NCA, who in turn contacted the Carabinieri. We checked out the case and then planned the rescue raid."

Colonel D'Ecclesiis said "within 36 hours, we had located the apartment in which he was being held prisoner. The raid took place at 1445 on Wednesday. We surrounded the apartment block, arrested the captors, and released the hostage." The British man had been in Italy since June, he said.

Colonel Massimiliano Mengasini, also involved in the release, said: "The young man was found in a darkened room with furniture pushed up against the windows. He was fed fairly sporadically by his captors. He was exhausted but he is slowly recovering."

Police said the ransom the kidnappers were asking was relatively modest but they as yet they had found no other motive for the Briton's seizure.

Sean Kelly, 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.”

Italian police said they were withholding the identity of the British tourist until the arrest warrants for his four captors are validated by a magistrate, which could happen on Friday.