Six British children under five are rescued from Austrian cellar where they were living with ‘conspiracy theorist’ who had a stockpile of guns and attacked social workers with pepper spray
- Police believe the family of eight had been living in the cellars for several months
- The children were reportedly not locked up, neglected or sexually abused
Six British children under the age of five have been found living in an abandoned wine cellar in Austria, in an illegal hideout with a 54-year-old Austrian said to be obsessed with conspiracy theories, and his wife, 40.
The youngsters were discovered in the illegal hideout in the small village of Obritz after police broke in following an incident in which the man allegedly attacked social services with pepper spray.
Deputy local mayor Erich Greil said after the discovery that the man once told him he had ten children, and that he wanted ‘a cellar for each child’.
The man is said to have been a ‘Reichsbürger’, a group of right-wing extremists who believe the German empire still exists as it did prior to World War II, and the current German state is nothing more than an administrative construct.
The youngsters were found in the illegal hideout in the small village of Obritz (pictured) with a 54-year-old Austrian man and his wife
Many of the cellar’s doors and windows were bricked up, images from the scene show
It is believed the family, comprised of the six children aged seven months to five years old, had been living in the cellar, which had been sold to an English company, for several months.
There had been complaints from concerned local residents who heard children’s voices within the last few weeks, causing social services to get involved.
A statement from police stated the man attacked two social workers with pepper spray on Thursday at around 3pm.
The man is said to have then barricaded himself in the building. Police were called and the man was later arrested.
When police entered the cellar, they found the six children along with multiple guns.
The cellars had been renovated to have doors, windows, water, electricity and surveillance cameras but are said to have ‘inadequate sanitation’ and were deemed ‘not suitable for children.’
The couple installed sophisticated CCTV cameras around the cellar, allowing them to see anyone approaching
Deputy local mayor Erich Greil said after the discovery that the man once told him he had ten children, and that he wanted ‘a cellar for each child’
The village of Obritz only has around 500 residents and is a rural haven for its residents
The wine cellar had been adapted and multiple security cameras added, with local media reporting the man became more involved in conspiracy theories since the start of the war in Ukraine.
The 54-year-old was described as ‘clever’ by locals, but they also suggested he was linked to conspiracy theorist groups.
The children were reportedly not locked up or neglected, police sources told the Telegraph. There is no suggestion of sexual abuse.
They have since been taken into care due to concerns over a lack of proof as to the children’s identity.
In Austria all births have to be registered by law with local authorities, but no records have been found for any of the children.
The parents reportedly claim all five of the children were born in the UK, where their father is said to have been working.
A group of Reichsbürger were arrested in Germany late last year over a plan to stage a violent coup and overthrow the government.
During the German investigation, police found a list of 18 enemy politicians, including Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who the group are said to have planned to execute.
The group were said to have planned to install a former member of a German royal family – 71-year-old Heinrich XIII, Prince of Reuss – as national leader.