French car part workers held their British boss hostage and forced him to file for bankruptcy, after realising he planned to relocate to Slovakia.

According to the BBC's website, Mike Bacon was planning to move the operations of the BRS factory, which makes car parts in eastern France, without the knowledge of its workers but was detained last Saturday by a group of employees after they spotted lorries leaving the factory unexpectedly.

They freed him on Monday after taking him to a court to file for bankruptcy, the broadcaster said.

"We did this so that the workers could be paid, so that they would get the right to social and unemployment benefits," Renaud Cornu, a spokesman for the employees, told the BBC.

Bacon reportedly said his detention was like being held as "a prisoner in Alcatraz", the BBC said, the citing Le Parisien newspaper.

"In a sense, I had no choice", he told Le Parisien. "The business is in financial difficulty. I had to act fast. I need to find money to pay the people from the French factory."

Utilux, based in Suffolk in the UK, bought BRS last year and already has another plant in Slovakia, where labour costs are much lower.

"All my customers are over there," Bacon said.

Employees, who said they were not paid in January, stopped three out of seven lorries they saw leaving the factory on Saturday on unscheduled deliveries to Slovakia, the BBC added.