A young traveller who was locked-up in a squalid Thai prison for five days with little food or water has spoken of his terrifying ordeal.

Twenty-one-year-old, Chris Ambrose, departed Watford four weeks ago for his eight-month round the world trip.

Having saved for two years for his dream, Chris flew to Thailand for the first leg of the trip, before heading to the northern town of Chiang Mai one week later.

However, just 11 days into his travels, Chris' trip began to unravel.

After returning from a three-day trek into the hills of northern Thailand, the former Rickmansworth School pupil arrived back at his hostel to find his bag tampered with and his camera, mobile phone and other valuables missing.

Chris, along with one of the travel reps, reported the theft to police the next morning.

After filling out a form the officers asked to come back to his hostel and, once inside Chris' room, began ransacking his bags.

Suddenly one of the officers pulled out the bag of missing things.

Chris, of Church Road, Watford, said: “At first I was relieved that I had got my stuff back. Then I felt a bit guilty for wasting their time.

“Then I realised it was worse. The atmosphere definitely changed.”

One officer suddenly accused Chris of insulting The King and said as he had signed a form at the police station he would to go to jail.

He was then driven to the town's official police station and thrown in a dark, filthy cell, where he was left for the next 21 hours.

By this time Chris' parents had been notifies of his ordeal, contacted Watford MP Claire Ward who in turn contacted the Foreign Office.

The next day, unsure whether he had even been charged, Chris was taken to court, where he was joined by the British Consular for the region.

Chris was fined 500 Baht, the equivalent of £10, and sentenced to one month in prison.

The fine was then reduced to about £6 for early payment, however, he was still expected to fulfil his jail sentence.

He was taken back to his prison cell while officials attempted to “negotiate” with Thai officials for his freedom.

Chris said: “It was pretty scary. I had no idea what was going on.

“There was no natural light in the cell, it was crowded and very intimidating. Everyone was pushed up against the bars and they all stared at me.”

Chris then had a visit from his rep who told him the court had agreed to overturn his sentence, but he would have to stay in prison while the authorities decided whether to deport him.

He was even told he would not have to pay for the bribery as he was a student.

Chris added: “It was the best a most ridiculous student discount I have ever had. And it is quite ironic considering I wasn't even a student.

“It was mixed emotions at first because I had been told I had got off the sentence I didn't know how long I was going to be in prison for.”

So for the next 47 hours he was left in the small, cramped cell with up to ten Thai criminals, no food and little water.

On Friday afternoon, five days after his arrest and having spent a night in a third dirty police cell, Chris was released without charge.

Threats to deport him were dropped and Chris left Thailand, his dream trip in tatters, last Monday.

However, after spending Christmas in Watford, Chris admirably still planning to catch up the second leg of his trip, in Australia, New Zealand and South America.

“I am going to try and make it work to my advantage.

“Obviously I am back for Christmas and I can sort out my route. I am going to go to Singapore and then Australia at the end of February so hopefully I can make the most of it.”