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SOCCER superstar Thierry Henry' s wife and daughter were last night under constant guard against a vicious East European kidnap gang.

The former Arsenal star called in a top security firm to protect his family after Special Branch tipped them off about the plot to snatch two-year-old Tea and hold her to ransom.

They ordered 24-hour GUARDS outside their London home, close protection MINDERS for little Tea and estranged wife Claire, 27, plus beefed-up CCTV SURVEILLANCE.


The team is on full alert after 29-year-old Henry¿who has signed for Spanish giants Barcelona in a £16million megadeal¿split from Claire and moved out, as revealed in the News of the World.

Neighbours first noticed the heightened security several months ago. And last night an inside source revealed the danger to Tea was still " imminent" .

A family friend told us: " Claire was already in bits over the threat, now it' s tougher with Thierry 1,000 miles away.

" She was terrified to hear how Kerry Katona was threatened by robbers with a knife in her own home. Now she fears something even worse."

The Henrys' immense wealth makes them a natural target for organised crime. Thierry will earn an estimated £130,000 a week at Barcelona and Claire could land a divorce settlement of £10million from his £25million fortune.

Experts say the ruthless Romanian Mafia are the most likely to be behind the kidnap. They are here in force and have form for child snatches, human trafficking and sex slavery.

An inside source said: " Henry and Claire were horrified when they were told of the plot.

" Claire loves taking Tea for a walk round the park and it would have been easy for kidnappers to bundle her into a car. Now any suspicious vehicles or people are immediately challenged. Even the nanny is shadowed by bodyguards."

Friends are convinced the stress of the threat put extra pressure on the couple' s four-year marriage.

In the weeks before the break-up walkers on Hampstead Heath were stunned to see model Claire¿the girl Henry starred with in the Renault Clio TV ad¿in angry rows on her mobile phone.

One said: " It was about 10 days before the split and Claire was shouting and swearing down the line in French."

A week later Claire was spotted again. A witness told us: " She really lost the plot and was shouting, ¿F*** off!' and lots of French words.

" She then HEADBUTTED her phone in rage three or four times."

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