The troubled Zano drone project, Europe's most successful Kickstarter campaign ever, has collapsed and will be shut down. Despite earning over £2.3m from backers, the mini-drone failed to get off the ground, leaving thousands of backers out of pocket.

Torquing Group, the company behind the Wales-based startup, said in a statement sent to its 12,075 backers than it will enter liquidation. According to the private message, creditors will be contacted by an insolvency practitioner.

Just 600 of the miniature drones were shipped out to backers, while over 14,000 orders will go unfulfilled. Company co-founder and CEO Ivan Reedman promised earlier this year that the first 15,000 drones would be sent to buyers in July, but this did not happen.

'We are greatly disappointed'

The message sent to backers reads: "Having explored all options known to us, and after seeking professional advice, we have made the difficult decision to pursue a creditors' voluntary liquidation. All creditors will be contacted by an insolvency practitioner next week.

"We are greatly disappointed with the outcome of the Zano project and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us during this difficult period, especially our loyal employees whose commitment has exceeded all expectations."

The Zano website is offline and the company's Twitter account has not been used since 15 October. Reedman resigned last week due to "personal health issues and irreconcilable differences". Kickstarter's terms and conditions state that failed projects "may be subject to legal action by backers".

The drone, which was small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and was controlled by a smartphone app, had gone into production. A feature of the drone was its claimed ability to follow users as they walk around outside.

A backer, who parted with £164, told the BBC that until early November "we were getting emails saying the first 7,000 Zanos were nearly ready to be dispatched". The unnamed backer added: "It's unfortunate to see Europe's most successful Kickstarter campaign...implode quite so spectacularly, particularly so close to them finally shipping."