British model 'kidnapped in Milan for Dark Web auction'

A British model was held captive for a week while a man threatened to sell her on pornographic sites hosted on the Dark Web, according to Italian police.

The 20-year-old woman, who has not been named, was allegedly kidnapped by two men on 11 July as she turned up for a fake photo shoot.

Police said she was injected with an anaesthetic when she arrived at a Milan apartment, put inside a suitcase and taken in the boot of a car to a village in the Piedmont region.

Lukasz Pawel Herba, 30, who authorities say is Polish but lives in Britain, has been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping for extortion purposes.

"Attacked, drugged, handcuffed and closed inside a suitcase, that's how a 20-year-old English model was kidnapped on July 11 in Milan to be sold to the best offer on pornography sites," said a statement from Milan police.

They said she was handcuffed to a dresser until she was released near the British consulate on 17 July - with the kidnapping suspect arrested the day after.

Her kidnapper allegedly threatened to auction her on the internet while trying to extort €300,000 (£270,000) from her agent.

Police said no one took part in auction and it was unclear if Herba was serious about the plan or whether he was a "fantasist".

The woman was released when the man discovered she had a child, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, but police said it was unclear why she was freed.

Police are searching for any accomplices.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: "We have been providing consular support to a British woman in Italy and are in touch with local authorities."