A SON pretended he had been kidnapped and tied up by a gang so that his frantic mum would transfer him a “substantial” amount of money.

Luke Bird, from Pontypool, staged the extraordinary ruse and even kept up the outrageous lie when the police became involved.

The 40-year-old defendant contacted his mum Sylvia Bird to tell her he had been abducted in Cardiff and she contacted the police.

South Wales Police poured in a “significant amount of resources” as they began investigating what they believed was a genuine kidnapping.

A number of senior officers worked on the case and a counter terrorist specialist firearms team and hostage negotiators were put on alert before the police soon began to become suspicious of Bird’s claims.

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Paul Hewitt, prosecuting, said: “It was clear to them within 24 hours of being told that it wasn’t as the defendant had described.”

He told Cardiff Crown Court: “Back on August 29 last year, the defendant’s mother Sylvia Bird contacted the police because she was concerned about the safety of her son that he had failed to return and that she had given him money it seems at the behest of others.

“She was worried about his well-being and the police once they had spoken to her got the view there was a possible kidnapping of the defendant.

“The defendant was eventually located by the police outside Greggs the next morning at 8.15am on Grand Avenue in Cardiff.

“He told officers he had been manhandled by others and had at one point been restrained with cable ties inside a derelict building.”

Bird said these men had demanded money and he had spoken to his mother who then transferred him cash before he was taken to a cashpoint.

Mr Hewitt told the court she had sent her son a “substantial amount” in £200 and £300 deposits and that the defendant told the police he was later “driven to somewhere in Ely”.

Mr Hewitt added: “Counter terrorist specialist firearms officers were mobilised from South Wales and the South West of England.

“The financial liabilities arising from the police operation has been calculated as being in the region of £29,308.”

Bird, of Avondale Road, Sebastopol, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

He has previous convictions for assaulting an emergency worker and public disorder.

Harry Baker, representing the defendant, said his client was a Cardiff University graduate who has suffered with his mental health and has a “personality disorder”.

The court heard that a drug habit had played a part in Bird’s offending.

The judge, Recorder Paul Hobson, said there was a prospect of rehabilitation in the case and spared the defendant an immediate term of imprisonment.

Bird was jailed for nine months, suspended for 18 months.

He was ordered to carry out a 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement and undertake a 12-month mental health treatment requirement.

The defendant was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge.