Page last updated at 18:16 GMT, Sunday, 26 April 2009 19:16 UK

'Car bomb man' was kidnap victim

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Chief Superintendent Tom Coughlan appeals for witnesses

A man found in a car in Birmingham city centre with his hands tied and canisters attached to his body had been kidnapped, police have revealed.

West Midlands Police said the man had been put in the car and told it contained a bomb.

Chief Supt Tom Coughlan said the man was removed in a seven hour operation and taken to hospital.

Several homes were evacuated and trains using New Street Station were delayed when a 500m police cordon was set up.

The incident started just before 1030 BST when a lorry driver called the emergency services after spotting the man, described as Asian by police, in a car at the junction of Clarel Avenue and Landor Street, Saltley.

His hands were tied and gas canisters were inside the two-door vehicle.

'Reprehensible' action

An Army bomb disposal team, fire crews and paramedics were called to the scene along with negotiators with West Midlands Police.

Mr Coughlan said officers were initially unable to say whether the man, in his 30s and from Birmingham, was conscious and whether he was there by choice or the victim of crime.

After the man was released Mr Coughlan said police were treating it as a criminal investigation.

"The man appears at this stage to have been placed in the car against his will possibly with a view to scaring him.

"He has been told there was a bomb in the car with him."

Experts were trying to establish the nature of the device placed in the car, he said.

"The canisters appeared viable but until they have been properly assessed then we cannot know for sure how serious this threat was," he said.

"This action is reprehensible. It has placed the victim, members of the public and the emergency services at risk," added Mr Coughlan.



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