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Concern is growing for a "kidnapped" Dalek after its owners received a ransom note together with the model's amputated plunger. The TV villain was swiped from Wookey Hole Caves, a Somerset tourist attraction, on Monday (6 June) where it was held in storage after going on display at the Bath and West Show. Wookey Hole staff received a ransom note from its abductors on Thursday (9 June), which said "We are holding the Dalek captive. We demand further instructions from the Doctor."

Which Doctor the kidnappers - from the previously unknown group Guardians of the Planet Earth - wanted to talk to is unclear. The current status of the 1.6m model, believed to be a rare original from the first Dr Who series, is unknown. Owners are offering a reward of £500 for the safe return of its prized asset, estimated to be worth thousands of pounds. The BBC reports that former Dr Who actor Colin Baker has expressed interest in the case and may be asked to intercede on behalf of the Time Lords' mortal enemy.

Wookey Hole manager Daniel Medley told BBC News that: "The arm has been removed quite carefully, it hasn't been ripped off, there's no torture involved." The lack of torture would appear to rule out Henry Van Statten but police are keeping an open mind.

"The police think it was probably taken by kids or students, but there is also the idea that it could be heading to Edinburgh for the G8 protests," Medley added. Police are less than amused at the apparent prank. "If it is a stunt there is an issue of wasting police time," a police spokeswoman said. ®

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