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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 December 2005, 13:09 GMT
Police hunt seven-man kidnap gang
Laneway where kidnap victim was found
Mrs Curry was found in a laneway near her home
The hunt is under way for a gang of seven men who kidnapped a County Down grandmother as part of a robbery plot.

Anne Curry, 58, was bound and gagged and taken from her Dromore home on Monday night. She was discovered in a laneway by police 24 hours later.

Police said an organised criminal gang was behind the kidnapping in a bid to get money from her husband's business.

Secretary of State Peter Hain said the kidnap was "horrific" and urged anyone with information to contact the police.

Details of Mrs Curry's ordeal emerged as detectives were about to issue an appeal for information on her whereabouts.

She was found safe and well near Drumbo a few miles from her home.

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said the ordeal had instilled fear into the local community.

"What a dreadful ordeal this must have been for Mrs Curry. It really must have been horrendous," he said.

"We can only begin to guess at the mental and physical pain she must have suffered over the last 24 hours while she was held."

Mr Donaldson said if paramilitaries were not behind the kidnapping it meant criminal gangs were "getting very bold" in their operations.

Jeffrey Donaldson
Jeffrey Donaldson said people were afraid in his constituency

"If it is the case that we have a gang roaming Northern Ireland, seven masked and armed men and they are not paramilitaries, then this raises a big issue here for us," said the DUP MP.

"It seems that we are moving into an era where the mafia are taking over.

"If a gang of this nature can drive freely along along the roads of Northern Ireland, can enter the home of a family, abduct an individual, drive them unimpeded to an unknown location, hold them for 24 hours, it really begs the question, is this getting out of control?"

Detective Superintendent Derek Williamson said there had been concern about Mrs Curry's health, as she was being given medical treatment.

No ransom

"Obviously this has been a very horrendous experience for her and her family. We believe an organised crime gang was responsible," he said.

He said he believed the motive for the kidnap was an attempt to get money from a large business to which Mrs Curry's husband was connected.

He was also bound and gagged at their home.

Those believed to have been behind the kidnapping had made contact a number of times, said the detective, and had made demands for money. However, Mr Williamson said it was not a ransom.

Mrs Curry was driven from her home in her own silver Suzuki Vitara, registration PKZ 1432, which was found burned out on Tuesday morning on the Back Road at Drumbo.

Mr Williamson appealed for help from the public in tracking the kidnappers.

"It is vital we get the information," he said.

He is keen to hear from anyone who saw anything suspicious in the Dromore or Drumbo areas , or anyone who had seen Mrs Curry's car.




SEE ALSO:
Woman kidnapped 'in robbery plot'
13 Dec 05 |  Northern Ireland


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