Gang held me for ransom in holiday motorcycle scam, says Scots Guard
A TEENAGER'S holiday to celebrate completing his training for the Scots Guards was ruined after he was taken hostage and held to ransom over a motorbike rental scam.
• 'Lewis was terrified', says his mother Linda Kennedy, above. 'I think he thought he wasn't coming home' Picture: Jayne Emsley
Lewis Kennedy, 17, rented motorbikes with friends in Kavos, Greece. As they returned the bikes to the hire shop, he was hit by a woman driving on the wrong side of the road.
The owners blamed him, locked him up in the store and demanded he pay damages.
He called his parents, and his father Iain, 43, a heating engineer from Musselburgh, East Lothian, sent the money via Western Union, but by the time it arrived the shops in Kavos were closed.
The teenager decided to make a run for it and hid in a ditch for two and a half hours before making his way back to his hotel.
However, as he and his friends waited for their 2am bus, six men on motorbikes started circling outside.
The holidaymakers managed to get on to the bus, but the men called the police, who refused to let Mr Kennedy leave until he had paid the money. British tourists on the bus held a whip-round to pay 370 to the men, who then agreed to let him go.
However, Mr Kennedy believes he may have got off lightly. Speaking after returning home from his holiday yesterday, he said: "There was a woman across the street from the shop who was working in PR. She said a boy had been involved in a similar incident with the same car three weeks earlier.
"He didn't pay the money, and as a result they broke both his legs, cracked his ribs and smashed his teeth.
"She said it was an organised scam that happens there all the time."
The men did not make specific threats of violence while he was in the shop.
Mr Kennedy, who had just graduated into the infantry of the Scots Guards and went on holiday ahead of his posting to Egypt for training in a warm climate, said: "They said if you don't pay the money, you won't see your family again.
"One of the guys had a baton - like a police baton - which he was playing with. I just thought I had to find some way of getting out of the shop and getting back to the hotel.
"I just wanted the flight to come and get on it and get back to my family.."
His mother Linda, 43, a beauty consultant, who was in constant contact with him by phone ,added: "He was terrified. He said, 'I love you so much. Remember, no matter what happens, I love you.' I think he thought he wasn't coming home."
A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: "We can confirm we were made aware of an ongoing incident in Corfu. Information was passed to the Greek authorities through Interpol and, in addition, we sought and received assistance from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
"We are pleased that the individual concerned touched down in the UK earlier this morning safe and well, and we intend to meet with him in order to obtain a statement regarding his experience."
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said: "We advise people to check the travel advice on our website before their trips and to ensure they have comprehensive travel insurance.
"We also advise travellers to check for warnings on scams."
GREECE is a friendly and hospitable country, but there are scams that visitors should watch out for.
The most common is aimed at men, where a friendly local strikes up a conversation and suggests a drink in a bar he knows. They are joined by other Greeks - often good-looking young women - until an astronomical bill comes and is handed to the tourist.
Some Greek taxi drivers receive a hefty commission for taking diners to restaurants. And impoverished-looking women harass tourists for money while their children attempt to steal their bags.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West