A suspected plot to kidnap a famous British TV presenter has been smashed.
This Morning presenter Holly Willoughby, 42, was pulled out of hosting yesterday’s show and was last night under police guard at her home.
It came after a 36-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday evening by police who allegedly found “sinister messages” threatening to kidnap and “seriously harm” the mum of three, The Sun reports.
The suspect, who is not known to the star, has now been charged.
Meanwhile, a marked police car remained outside his ground-floor flat, where he lives alone.
“I saw him being led out of his flat in handcuffs last night at about nine o’clock,” one neighbour in Harlow, Essex, UK, said.
“The police car has been there all day. Earlier on there was a forensics van,” another added.
It was unclear how police became aware of the alleged plot but it was understood digital devices and a mobile phone were seized.
As detectives continue to investigate, a round-the-clock police guard has been posted outside Holly’s London home, where she lives with her husband and children.
“Investigations are continuing but police are treating this as a credible conspiracy to kidnap Holly,” a source said.
“There were apparently some sinister and threatening messages found on electronic devices threatening to seriously harm her.”
Police alerted This Morning bosses to the alleged plot early yesterday.
Holly was informed shortly before she was due on air.
She was left “shocked and distraught” and it was decided she should pull out of the show.
Alison Hammond was called in as a last- minute replacement alongside Josie Gibson, who co-hosted Wednesday’s show with Holly.
Viewers were left baffled as Josie skirted round her absence, saying: “Look who’s joined me.
“It’s only the one and only Alison Hammond.”
Alison then joked about being “jealous” of her and Holly.
One fan posted: “No Holly today?! Devastated.”
Another added: “Not even a mention of why she’s not on today?!”
Holly had been due to celebrate her TV producer husband Daniel Baldwin’s 49th birthday with their children, Harry, 14, Belle, 12, and eight-year-old Chester.
The incident comes after a turbulent year for the star, who has presented This Morning since 2009.
Last September, she and then co-host Phillip Schofield were accused of skipping the queue to pay their respects to the late Queen.
She later issued a statement explaining she had been there as an accredited broadcaster for a filmed segment.
Holly added: “Please know that we would never jump a queue.”
This May, Schofield, 61, resigned after he admitted an affair with a younger colleague.
Schofield also revealed he had lied about it when confronted by Holly.
She later told viewers she had felt “shaken and let down”.
However she was widely mocked for opening the show by asking to camera: “Are you OK?”
ITV launched a review into This Morning amid claims of a “toxic culture”, leading to a backlash from viewers.
Last month, Holly failed to win a National Television Award for the first time in 12 years.
An Essex Police spokesman said last night: “A 36-year-old man from Harlow has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to kidnap as part of an ongoing investigation.
“The arrest was made on Wednesday 4 October. He is currently in custody. “Inquiries continue.”
This story originally appeared in The Sun and was republished here with permission.