Two female British tourists have been arrested in Portugal after allegedly hiring a firm to kidnap them as part of their 40th birthday celebrations.
Police raced to Lisbon's Restauradores Square after receiving a string of calls about witnessing masked men forcing two women into a white van.
Several police cars chased the van, but when they caught up with it, allegedly found that the women were thrill-seekers who had paid to be 'kidnapped' as part of their birthday celebrations.
The two women were arrested, along with four Portuguese nationals - the owner of the unnamed company that organised the pretend abduction, and three men who took part in it.
The women had travelled to Portugal as a group of nine friends. The Daily Telegraph reports that they told police they had known nothing about the kidnap, and that it had been organised by others in their group.
They have since been freed without charge after they appeared at a private court hearing in Lisbon on Monday on suspicion of criminal simulation, which carries a maximum one-year prison sentence.
But a spokesman told the paper that no action will be taken against any of the participants, and that is understood "they were playing a game".
A police source told the Daily Mail: "The incident provoked social alarm and terrified several passers-by at the scene."
Extreme kidnapping is the latest thrill for adrenaline junkies, and people can pay up to £1,000 to be abducted.
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