Armed officers from Scotland Yard's kidnap unit have rescued a man who was held hostage by a gang demanding a £50,000 ransom.
The 56-year-old, who had been captive for 48 hours in a carefully planned operation, was found in the boot of a car, his hands and wrists bound and a hood over his head.
Using "distraction" grenades, officers from the Metropolitan Police's kidnap and surveillance unit moved in on the vehicle and arrested two men. In the boot of the Ford Escort they found the victim, who had been beaten.
The man, who has not been named but who lives in east London, was taken to hospital, where he was being treated last night. Detective Chief Superintendent John Coles, of the serious and organised crime command, said: "This was one of the most complex kidnaps in recent years involving criminals who had undertaken a great deal of planning to carry out this offence.
"People who intend to commit this type of crime need to be aware of my officers' 100 per cent success rate in resolving these crimes."
The kidnap, believed to be the result of a financial dispute, happened at around 5pm on Monday evening when the man, an Albanian national, disappeared from the Romford area of east London. That night, as his family waited for him to return home, they received a call demanding £50,000 for his safe release.
Scotland Yard, with officers from the Essex force, mounted a covert operation to track him down.
They said yesterday that they believed he was held somewhere in Epping Forest before being taken to Harlow railway station in the back of the car, where he was freed on Wednesday night. Officers were still searching the area around Epping Forest last night.
Two Albanian men, aged 17 and 19, were arrested and were being questioned at a police station in central London yesterday.Reuse content