After receiving a note from Swiss racketeers demanding ransom for a kidnapped snowman, organisers of the tenth Annual St.Moritz Snowman Building competition went into meltdown.
On the eve of judging, extortionists removed the snowy figure that had been tipped to win the prestigious Raymond Briggs award.
A box containing two snowballs a demand for 6000 Swiss francs, a Rolex watch and yodeling lessons, was sent to the competition HQ.
It came from a group calling themselves The Carrot and Coal Alliance and they threatened that if payment was not forthcoming then the snowman could find himself 'in some very hot water.'
Head judge Inge Engen said, "At first we thought it was amusing but then realised that these reprobates were deadly serious, and whichever way we tried to resolve the situation, the competition was finished.
It was a painful decision to abandon this wonderful event, but in choosing to liquidate the remaining exhibits ourselves,the kidnappers got a lot less than they'd bargained for".
He added "it's been a very distressing way to conclude such a historical event, and that he,and his fellow judges were attempting to put the trauma behind them, by going out on the piste"