A man and a woman suspected of holding three women captive for more than 30 years have been released on bail by police.

The pair, both aged 67, allegedly kept the victims entirely hidden from the world for three decades, in a case which is drawing worldwide attention.

Police rescued the three women from a house in Lambeth, south London, where they spent years in confinement and were never seen outside.

The suspects are believed to be married and not British nationals. They were held on suspicion of being involved in forced labour and domestic servitude, under the Coroners and Justice Act. Neighbours described them as a "nice, normal couple."

The experience of the three women - a 30-year-old from Britain, a 57-year-old from Ireland and a 69-year-old from Malaysia - echoes cases such as Josef Fritzl in Austria and Ariel Castro in Cleveland.

The suspects were released on bail as police started to piece together what happened to the women. A Scotland Yard spokesman said there was no evidence yet that the victims had been sexually abused.

Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland, from the Metropolitan Police's Human Trafficking Unit, said: "This is the very early stages of a complicated and sensitive investigation. These women are highly traumatised, having been held in servitude for at least 30 years with no real exposure to the outside world, and, trying to find out exactly what has happened over three decades will understandably take some time."

The women escaped from captivity by contacting a charity which featured on a TV documentary on October 11. Workers at the Freedom Charity then contacted police who launched an investigation and rescued the captives on 25 October.