London has a kidnap every day

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Kidnappers are snatching a victim in London on average every day, with some gangs demanding hundreds of thousands of pounds in ransom, Scotland Yard has said.

The criminals, many from Eastern European countries, frequently use extreme levels of violence.

Last year a total of 358 kidnaps were reported to the Metropolitan Police, with dozens more going undetected, the Met said yesterday. The force's kidnap unit was alerted to 55 of the incidents and in every case managed to free the hostage, often after raiding the gang's hideout. In most kidnaps, however, a ransom is paid or the victim escapes before police hear about it.

Most of the kidnappers are escaping prosecution partly because many of their victims are fellow criminals and refuse to co-operate with the police.