Inside cellar where dad 'kept six British children' but he says he's no Fritzl

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The inside of an abandoned wine cellar in Austria where six British-born children were rescued has been revealed – as their father insists he is innocent.

Three boys and three girls, aged between seven months and six years old, were found in what has been described as an ‘illegal hideout’ in the village of Obritz in Austria.

They were found after police stormed the property, 60 miles north of capital, Vienna, during a major operation.

The children’s father, Tom Landon, 54, was detained by police for 24 hours after allegedly using pepper spray on social workers who arrived to investigate reports from concerned neighbours.

He told Mail Online how he has been accused of being the ‘new Josef Fritzl’ – but ‘it couldn’t be further from the truth’.

Mr Landon, who has written more than 30 books criticising the Austrian government, said authorities were ‘sticking their noses in’ because of his ‘chosen lifestyle’.

But he insisted: ‘I am not an enemy of the state, I am a philanthropist and above all, a loving father.’

Mr Landon said he told the children to hide in the basement when the police arrived.

‘My family is terrified, they won’t come back to the house where we lived for nearly a year because they are scared the police may return.

‘Do you know we had police here with guns and a battering ram to get access to my property?

‘Do you really think I would be free if I had been keeping my young children in a cellar?’  

Police sources told the Telegraph that the children, reported to be British and born in England, were not locked up or neglected.  

They were taken into care amid concerns over a lack of proof over their identity.

But Mr Landon, whose wife is German, maintains the children are Austrian.  

He says they have since been allowed to return to their parents but the family must all now travel to Vienna to take DNA tests, according to Mail Online.

Mr Landon added: ‘We chose not to register the children but they are all mine.

‘If the authorities were so concerned, why have they let the children come back to us?’

He admitted using pepper spray but he was ‘simply defending myself’ after the social workers ‘failed to identify themselves’.

‘I saw two men outside looking at my property and they were shouting at me to come out – one said “We have reason to believe you have children in here and they are unsafe and not going to school”’, he said.

‘I said they were my children, they were perfectly safe and we were teaching them at home, and it was none of their business how we chose to live.

‘The children were terrified and my wife was in tears and all for nothing, our quiet simple life here is ruined now by busy bodies who have no business interfering,’ he added.

Pictures inside the cellar show crates of food, nappies and medical supplies stacked against the wall and down the stairs, together with boxes of toys.

Mr Landon has denied being a ‘prepper’ – a person who prepares for a major disaster – and insisted he was just a ‘family man and a good father’ who wanted to make sure his children had everything they needed.

He also dismissed reports weapons were found inside the house, insisting they were air pistols and a deactivated World War Two gun which ‘wouldn’t hurt anyone’.

The dad-of-six said he bought six properties side-by-side for the children so they could all be close to each other.  

Now he says he could lose 120,000 Euros because the family don’t want to return.

He plans to claw back some of the cash by taking legal action against the authorities.

The case is now expected to be dropped by prosecutors, Mail Online reports.

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