Abduction of boy for ransom leads to 14 arrests

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The Independent Online
FOURTEEN PEOPLE were being questioned by police last night in connection with a suspected kidnapping of a schoolboy and a demand for a pounds 100,000 ransom.

The 14-year-old, who has been reunited with his family, is believed to have been abducted on Friday afternoon while on his way to his home in the town of St Ives, Cambridgeshire, from a private school in nearby Ely. The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found safe and well in a car in London at about 1am yesterday after a police operation.

Four men in the car were arrested and taken to a London police station for questioning. Two of the men were aged 22, one was 28 and the other was in his thirties.

Shortly afterwards seven more men and three women were arrested at an address in London and taken to Paddington Green police station in the city. The 14 people were all arrested on suspicion of kidnap and later taken to Cambridgeshire to be interviewed. The incident is not believed to be connected to paedophilia or terrorism.

The boy's family, who police described as neither famous nor particularly wealthy, are understood to have been ordered to pay pounds 100,000 to secure the release of their son.

The teenager is a pupil at King's School in Ely. Notices were put up at the school yesterday by the headmaster, Richard Youdale, telling pupils and staff the news. They read: "Good news. Many of you will be aware that a Year Nine boy from King's was placed in a situation of danger, away from the school, over the weekend. I am happy to tell you that he is now back at home, safe and well."

Keith Chamberlain, acting Assistant Chief Constable, who led the operation, said: "This has been a major investigation for Cambridgeshire Constabulary and I am delighted that we were able to find the boy safe and well."