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Birthday 'prank' sends police on runaround

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07:03 CEST+02:00
Police in Norrköping in eastern Sweden were sent on a wild goose chase on Wednesday after masked men were reported to have dragged a taxi driver from his car and sped off in an incident later revealed to be a birthday prank.

Four-five masked men surrounded a tax in the Klockartorpet residential area of the city on Wednesday evening, dragged the driver out of his cab and dumped him in the boot of a car and speeding away from the scene.

Shocked onlookers immediately called the police.

"Granted it was the end of term but we decided to take the alarm seriously," said Jan-Erik Fors at Norrköping police.

Police proceeded to spend several hours searching for the taxi and calling around all of the taxi firms in the city. In the end they were able to locate the offending vehicle.

It all turned out to have been an elaborate practical joke and the would-be kidnappers were in fact the man's friends who had come up with the idea to toy with him.

"It was a joke and that was nice to find out, but it was a bad joke," said Jan-Erik Fors.

The mischievous pranksters expressed profound regret after the incident but no legal sanction is set to befall them after police saw the funny side of the unfortunate mix-up.

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