SIX British children under the age of five were found living in an abandoned wine cellar in Austria sparking a major police probe.
The youngsters were discovered in the illegal hideout in the small village of Obritz with a 54-year-old Austrian man and his wife.
1The children were discovered in the illegal hideout in the small village of Obritz, AustriaThe man is being investigated after attacking social services with pepper spray and resisting police outside the home.
According to The Telegraph, the man barricaded himself in the cellars.
Police subsequently broke into the compound and arrested the man.
Firearms were found in the cellar, where the family of eight was living.
However, he was released on Thursday, January 26, after prosecutors said he posed no risk to the children.
Police are checking whether the guns were legally owned.
It is not clear how long the man, his wife and the children had lived in the cellar but there were doors, windows, water and electricity.
Local authorities said they believed the family had been living in the cellars for several months but there had been complaints about them over the last few weeks.
Erich Greil, Orbritz deputy mayor, said: “The surveillance cameras in front of the cellar were particularly annoying and residents sometimes heard children’s voices in the basement and as soon as they approached it was quiet.”
Police said there was no suggestion of any sexual abuse of the children found in the cellar.
The children are aged between seven months and five-years-old.
Hollabrunn District Governor Karl-Josef Weiss said the children were neither locked up nor neglected.
They were examined at a local hospital in the presence of their mother.
The children have been taken into care after authorities were unable to find their Austrian birth records.
The parents claimed it was because the children were born in England.
It is unclear if they have British citizenship.
The Telegraph has said that it’s sparked fears of a similar case.
It was reported youth welfare officers got involved after the children’s voices were heard near the cellars to ensure there was not a repeat of the Josef Fritzl case.
Fritzl, an Austrian, held his daughter captive in a basement dungeon for 24 years, where she had seven of his children.
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk