Armed police rescue kidnap boy

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The Independent Online

Five people believed to have taken a 10-year-old boy at gunpoint from his home on Thursday have been arrested in a rescue operation by armed police.

Some 25 officers from Scotland Yard's specialist kidnap unit raided the central London flat where the boy was being held late on Friday night.

The boy's ordeal began when three armed people snatched him from his home in Walthamstow, east London, on Thursday at around 11am, police said. The Crime Directorate's Kidnap Unit tracked him down to a ground-floor flat in Victoria.

Eyewitnesses described hearing shots and said that one of the men had been hit. A police spokeswoman, however, denied that any shots had been fired.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: "Armed officers successfully rescued the boy. He has been checked over by medical staff and is uninjured. He has been returned to his family. A ransom demand was made, but we are not confirming how much."

Four men and a woman arrested for questioning over alleged kidnap and firearms offences remained in custody, he added.

Great Peter Street was cordoned off after the operation, while a search of another address, in Clapham, south London, recovered three firearms.

Commander Cressida Dick, from the Metropolitan Police's Serious Crime Directorate, said investigators were "extremely pleased" at the rescue.

"We take all kidnaps seriously and use every technique and resource available to us. Our primary aim is always to secure the safe rescue of hostages as quickly as possible."