A prominent businessman from North Yorkshire who was kidnapped in Ecuador has been released from captivity.

Colin Armstrong, 78, was abducted on Saturday from a farm he owned near the city of Guayaquil.

Mr Armstrong, who also owns the Forbidden Corner visitor attraction in the Yorkshire Dales, is the president of Ecuadorean agriculture firm Agripac.

His spokesperson Leo Morris said Mr Armstrong was now with the police and authorities in Ecuador.

Mr Morris, who manages Forbidden Corner as well as Mr Armstrong’s affairs in the UK, said: “The staff, tenants, farmers and friends of Colin are absolutely delighted at the news. It couldn’t have come at a better time.”

The businessman would be spending Christmas with his family in South America, he added.

Mr Morris also praised the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, saying its staff had done “a very good job” of helping the family and keeping them updated.

Posting on X, formerly Twitter, Chris Campbell, the British Ambassador in Ecuador, said he was “delighted” Mr Armstrong had been “safely released”.

According to a message from the Ecuadorean police, also posted on X, Mr Armstrong was found on a road near Manabi.

Cesar Augusto Zapata Correa, Ecuador’s police chief, posted: “Our units released citizen Colin A, kidnapped a few days ago in Los Rios. At the moment he is safe and healthy.”

He added that nine people had been arrested in connection with the kidnap.

Mr Armstrong was awarded the OBE and Companions of the Order of St Michael and St George for services to the British Monarchy in 2011.

He was a former UK honorary consul to Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, a voluntary role which involved supporting British interests and providing support to British nationals who found themselves in difficulty.

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