Man stripped naked, tied up, beaten and threatened with gun in 50-hour hostage ordeal in Croydon

Lizzie Dearden

A man has been kidnapped, tied up and threatened with a gun in a 50-hour hostage ideal in London.

The 24-year-old victim was wearing a £9,000 Rolex watch when he was approached by two acquaintances while walking through Croydon on 4 December.

They lured him to a house in nearby Thornton Heath, where a group of men waiting with weapons stripped him naked, tied him up and started a brutal and extended assault.

“Over the course of the next two days he was subjected to an extended bout of physical abuse and humiliation that included his attackers kicking him in the face, which left him with severe bruising on his lips and a large lump on his forehead,” a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said.

The gang threatened the victim with a gun and knives while forcing him to phone his parents with a demand for a “significant sum of money”.

When they said they could not obtain it, the kidnappers forced their victim to hand over keys to his parents’ home and burgled it on 6 December.

Police would like to speak to this man regarding a kidnapping and burglary in Croydon (Metropolitan Police)

CCTV footage shows two suspects – who police are appealing to trace - approach the home in Sydenham before cash, designer handbags, sunglasses and further Rolex watches were stolen.

As the victim’s imprisonment approached its third evening, members of the gang forced him into his car to withdraw money from a bank.

They stayed in the vehicle, possibly to avoid being caught on CCTV, and the man saw his opportunity to escape.

Police said he ran and sought shelter at a nearby church, Croydon Minster, where officers were called.

Investigators believe up to 12 people may have been involved with the ordeal and are appealing to trace two men who arrived at the victim’s parents’ home wearing high visibility vests.

The footage shows one suspect, a black man with dark facial hair wearing a yellow jacket over a parka, walk to the door and spot the camera.

He returns with an accomplice wearing an orange jacket to enter the property, with both men covering their faces.

“This was a vicious and prolonged attack of a nature that thankfully is very rare,” said Detective Sergeant Samuel Bennett. “It has left the victim utterly distraught and traumatised.”

He appealed for anyone who has seen a Rolex like that one stolen - a 2007 model with a black face, black bezel, yellow gold body and strap – or the suspects caught on CCTV to come forward, adding: “These men are dangerous and it is important that we apprehend them before they can target anyone else.”

Four men have been arrested so far. Two suspects aged 19 and 28 were arrested on suspicion of kidnap on Sunday and have been taken to a police station for questioning.

Two men aged 39 and 58 were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping on Friday and have been bailed to a date in early January.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, tweet @MetCC or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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