Hostage Briton is set free

A British aid worker and his French colleague taken hostage in Chechnya 26 days ago have been released, the Foreign Office said last night, writes Helen Noxicka.

Michael Penrose, 23, and Frederic Malardeau, 35, were bundled into a car by six gunmen as they drove through Grozny. They were in the breakaway Russian republic with the charity Action Against Hunger whose spokesman said last night both were safe and well. Mr Penrose's father David said from his home at Swerford, Oxfordshire: "Words cannot express our happiness. It is an incredible relief."