A MAJOR police investigation was launched after a man claimed he had been kidnapped, a court heard yesterday.
Daniel Martin Bennett, 23, said that at the weekend, two large black men from Manchester abducted him from his Wrexham flat, where they had stolen £500.
He was then bundled into a Mercedes and held face down while he was driven around the town for about an hour.
Bennett told detectives that he was only released when the abductors realised he was not the son of a local businessman, Kerry Wycherley.
But a court heard yesterday that it was all made up.
Bennett had in fact stolen £200 from his flat mate Leon Wycherley, the businessman’s son, in order to “run away”.
After taking the cash he found that there were no trains that night – and in any event he had not decided where to go.
So Flintshire magistrates’ court at Mold was told that Bennett, who lives in a flat at Bellevue Court in Wrexham, went out on the town and spent it all on drink instead.
He then made up the kidnap story to cover up what he had done.
Bennett, said to be suffering from depression, admitted stealing the cash on Saturday night and then wasting police time on Sunday by making up the false story.
District Judge Andrew Shaw adjourned sentence and bailed him in the meantime on condition that he lives at his parents’ address in Maes y Ficerdy in Rhos.
The judge said that all options including custody would remain open.
The court heard numerous police hours had been wasted on the fruitless investigation and officers had also been sent to speak to the Wycherley family because it was feared they could be in danger.
But it was claimed by defending solicitor Catherine Jagger that Mr Wycherley had forgiven her client.
He had said a job would be available to him in the future, and that if he had been short of cash then he should have approached him to see if he could provide him with a job.
Prosecutor Matthew Ellis said the alarm was raised at 5.30am on Sunday that Bennett had been kidnapped.
He said abductors bundled him into a Mercedes, pushed him down on the back seat, face down, and they drove around for about an hour.
They then dropped him off in Mold Road when they realised they had the wrong man.
Mr Ellis said that Bennett made a four page statement detailing what had occurred.
When officers returned at 4.30pm on Sunday, he made a further five page statement giving descriptions of his supposed kidnappers and the route that they had taken in the Mercedes.
Police launched a major investigation.
House to house inquiries were carried out, hours were spent with the defendant, at least three hours was spent viewing CCTV footage of the town centre, crime scene investigators attended and a risk assessment was carried out over the potential danger to the Wycherley family.
On Monday Bennett was asked to attend Wrexham police station after officers found that there was no sign of him or the Mercedes on any CCTV recording on the route said to have been taken.
Bennett then changed his story and said that the kidnappers were on foot.
But he later began to cry and admitted that he had made it all up.
“Numerous police hours were wasted on this fruitless investigation,” said Mr Ellis.
Miss Jagger said it was quite a bizarre and elaborate tale, told initially to cover up the theft of £200 by her client.
The £200 had already been paid back to the Wycherley family by the Bennett’s brother.
It was clear Mr Wycherley senior bore no grudges although it was clear his family had been put through 24 hours of worry.
They had forgiven him to a degree.
The police had been concerned for the Bennett’s safety initially, he was suffering from depression and his mental health needed to be checked.
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