In a prank gone wrong, a 45-year-old man from Blackpool who wanted money to get drunk with his friends faked his own kidnapping with the help of his pals but got caught after his pregnant girlfriend got terrified and informed the police on 28 January.
Authorities mounted a £30,000 ($42055.80) search operation and sent armed officers, a helicopter and hostage negotiators in search of Leigh Ford, the Express reported. But officers were left stunned when they saw the CCTV footage that showed Ford and his two friends leaving an off-licence shop. They had purchased drinks with the £80 which Ford's girlfriend had managed to arrange for his "release" before she called 999, the Express report added.
Ford was soon arrested but stuck to his original story of being kidnapped before he was shown the CCTV footage.
He told the Blackpool magistrates about how he had fooled his girlfriend by telling her that he was going to get Sunday tea before he was put into the back of a van with a bag over his head by his friends.
Ford also told officials that his "captors" then called his girlfriend and threatened her that they would sever his leg and pour boiling water "napalm" over his body and "cut his nuts off". All this was happening as Ford pretended to be hurt and kept screaming in the background, the Express reported.
He later admitted to wasting police time and presiding magistrate Ian Robertson told him: "The police were not the only victims of your stupidity. So was your partner, who now faces having a baby whilst you are in prison."
Stephen Duffy who was representing Ford, said: "The whole kidnap story had been made up to get his hands on a small amount of money. He had no idea what the police reaction was going to be. This is a bizarre case – a prank which went totally wrong."
The father-to-be has been jailed for 16 weeks and he will also miss the birth of his child.