A family who spent nine years in a basement “waiting for the end of time” have been discovered by police in the Netherlands after one of them turned up at a local pub.
A man, 58, and six adults – aged 18 to 25 – were living at a farm in the northern province of Drenthe.
They were found after one of the six ordered beer at a bar in the nearby village of Ruinerwold.
He then told staff he needed help.
Bar owner Chris Westerbeek described how one family member had come in, ordered five beers and drunk them.
“Then I had a chat with him and he revealed he had run away and needed help… then we called the police,” he said.
“He said he had brothers and sisters who lived at the farm. He said he was the oldest and wanted to end the way they were living.”
Officers visited the remote farmhouse and carried out a search. They discovered a hidden staircase behind a cupboard in the living room that led down to a basement room where the family were housed.
Ruinerwold is a village with a population of less than 3,000. The farm is outside the village and is accessible by a bridge over a canal.
The farm, which is part-hidden behind a row of trees, also has a large vegetable plot and a goat.
Police in Drenthe confirmed that a 58-year-old man had been arrested and was under investigation after refusing to co-operate.
The farmhouse and the surrounding grounds were cordoned off.
It was unclear how long the family had been in the basement or what had happened to the children’s mother, although the mayor said she had died some time ago.
Some reports suggested the 58-year-old had suffered a stroke and had been confined to his bed.