Six British children found living in abandoned wine cellar in Austria

The family had been living in the cellars for several months, police said (PA Wire)
The family had been living in the cellars for several months, police said (PA Wire)

Six British children have been found living in an abandoned wine cellar in Austria, according to reports.

The youngsters, all aged under five, were found in the illegal hideout in the small village of Obritz with a 54-year-old Austrian man and his wife.

Police launched a search operation for the man after he reportedly attacked social services staff with pepper spray in the village.

The family had been living in the cellars for several months, police said.

The man, reported to be Austrian but working in Britain, barricaded himself in the cellars. After police broke in and arrested the man they found firearms in the cellar.

He was released on Thursday evening after prosecutors said he posed no risk to the children, The Telegraph reported. Police are checking whether the guns are legally owned.

The cellars had been renovated to make them more comfortable, with surveillance cameras installed. However, local authorities said the sanitation was inadequate and unsuitable for children.

It is not clear how long the man, his 40-year-old wife and the children had lived there, but there were doors, windows, water and electricity. There had been complaints about the family over the past few weeks.

Hollabrunn district governor Karl- Josef Weiss said the children were neither locked up nor neglected. They were examined at hospital in the presence of their mother.

The children were taken into care after they were discovered.