BREAKING: Forbidden Corner owner Colin Armstrong freed by police

Colin Armstrong with police after his rescue. Photo: General Commander of the National Police of Ecuador/X.

Forbidden Corner corner owner Colin Armstrong has been freed, police in Ecuador have announced this morning.

It is understood the 78-year-old British businessman, who owns the Tupgill Park Estate in Coverdale, is unharmed.

Police say nine people have been arrested in connection with his kidnapping which happened in the early hours of Saturday morning at his ranch called Rancho Rodeo Grande.

The General Commander of the National Police of Ecuador issued an update on X stating that Mr Armstrong was freed by police on the road to Manabi, a province in Ecuador.

He added: “At the moment he is safe and healthy. There are 9 arrested.”

Leo Morris, director and chief operating officer at Tupgill Park, said in a statement this morning: “We can confirm that Mr Colin Armstrong has successfully been released and is currently with the police having interviews and then will be returning to his family in Ecuador .

“All of the UK family , staff and friends are delighted with the outcome and look forward to a happier Christmas.”

Mr Armstrong was kidnapped by a gang who also took a woman thought to be his wife Katherine Paola Santos.

Videos emerged earlier this week of police freeing the woman, who it was reported was wearing a vest containing explosives.

Local media reported that Mt Armstrong and his wife were taken away in their black BMW by the kidnappers.

The vehicle was later found abandoned on the road between Baba and the nearby town of Salitre.

Mr Armstrong, who was brought up at Tupgill Park and lives part of the time on the estate, is also the head of the British Consulate in the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil.

He is the founder of Agripac, an agricultural products supply companies in Ecuador founded in 1972.

Mr Armstrong was awarded the OBE and CMG for services to the British Monarchy in 2011.

Forbidden Corner was originally built as a private folly but is now a popular visit destination, attracting tens of thousands of visitors every year.

Until recently, Ecuador has been considered a relatively peaceful country.

However, in recent year kidnapping have become more common with victims often held until their families pay a ransom.