A well-known North Yorkshire businessman has been kidnapped in South America.
Colin Armstrong is the man behind the Tupgill Park Estate – 500 acres of rolling North Yorkshire countryside.
And he created the famous Forbidden Corner on the estate – the unique labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, follies and surprises near Leyburn.
But it emerged today that Mr Armstrong was kidnapped by around 15 men at his home in Ecuador, according to local media reports.
He was reportedly taken from a ranch he owns in the province of Los Rios, along with his partner, early on Saturday.
The gang, disguised as police officers, forced their way into the 78-year-old’s home and snatched him and his partner, who is a Colombian national.
A post shared on X claims to show Mr Armstrong’s home after the kidnapping. The footage shows a broken doorframe and blood on bedding and on the floor.
The post translates as: “‘What we experienced was fatal.’ They kidnapped Colin Armstrong, president of Agripac, and honorary consul of the United Kingdom, they took him from his ranch in Baba, after celebrating Christmas with his collaborators”:
The UK Foreign Office says it is in contact with Ecuadorian authorities following the disappearance of a British man, but did not confirm his identity or the location of the potential crime.
The Tupgill Park Estate website says: “Colin is the founder of a large company in Ecuador called Agripac and Tupgill Park Estate, his childhood home, has been a labour of love for over 45 years.
“Without Colin we would have never developed the 500 acre estate to what it is today , welcoming over 150,000 people each year.
“Colin was awarded by the Queen his OBE and CMG for services to the British Monarchy in 2011.”