Dragon Bannatyne threatens to break arms of 'Russian' bloke

Twitter squeals at pub-like outburst

Dragon's Den star Duncan Bannatyne upset the gentle sensibility of the twitterati yesterday, after he forgot he wasn't talking to one bloke down the pub when making empty threats to break the arms of a "Russian".

He offered a £25,000 reward to anyone who could track down the person behind the Twitter handle YuriVasilyev_, who demanded a cash investment to prevent him hurting Bannatyne's daughter, Hollie.

The multi-millionaire BBC TV celebrity said on Twitter he would double that reward to £50,000 if YuriVasilyev_'s "arms were broken".

But other tweeters soon waded in, pointing out that Bannatyne was making very public illegal threats.

He quickly deleted the angry limb-damage tweet, replacing it with the promise of a "£30,000 reward for info leading to his arrest".

Bannatyne, who is currently on air in the latest series of the popular TV show Dragon's Den for wannabe entrepreneurs and no-hopers, received a message from YuriVasilyev_ over the weekend.

It mimicked the contestants on the Beeb show by saying: "I'm looking for a £35,000 investment to stop us hurting your Hollie Bannatyne. We will bring hurt and pain into your life. We are watching her. She is very attractive. Want photos?"

He later received another message that repeated the threat.

"Duncan Bannatyne - Hollie is going to get hurt. We will bring pain and fear. You should have expected us. We are the men of Belarus.

"We do not give up. We will stand tall. You should have paid. £35,000 to stop it. Contact us to pay. We are watching. Expect us. We are the men of Belarus."

The TV star said he suspected that YuriVasilyev_ was based in Moscow, after others on Twitter tried to help him locate the blackmailer.

"My family is well-protected but I take any threat to them very seriously and will do all I can to ensure the person or people involved are caught," Bannatyne later added. ®

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