Marcus Hutchins was detained in Las Vegas as he left a computer conference

The Ilfracombe computer expert has been arrested by the FBI in America, it has been reported.

Marcus Hutchins, 23, who was credited with stopping the WannaCry ransomware cyber attack in May, was detained yesterday (Wednesday) at Las Vegas in Nevada.

The apparent arrest of Mr Hutchins, also known as MalwareTech, has hit the headlines on both sides of the pond and set the Twitter community alight.

In May he also hit the headlines when he apparently stopped the spread of a virus that hit NHS systems across the UK and computers around the world, leaving users faced with a blocked screen and a demand for a 'ransom' otherwise their files would be rendered unusable.

There has been no indication why Marcus Hutchins, was 'detained' in the US. Picture: AP/Frank AugsteinThere has been no indication why Marcus Hutchins, was 'detained' in the US. Picture: AP/Frank Augstein

At the time he tweeted he'd had 'three days with nearly no sleep' and had been subjected to heavy national media attention.

He was arrested at Las Vagas's McCarran International Airport on Wednesday afternoon as he was leaving a hacker conference, according to a friend who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The friend, who also works in the cyber security industry, was attending the Def Con event in the Nevada city with Hutchins.

He said: "He was detained at McCarran airport yesterday. He checked into his flight and I think he was sitting in the Virgin upper class lounge.

"He was escorted out of the airport and never made his flight."

Reports have suggested the FBI made the arrest but the bureau is yet to confirm this.

There is also no indication yet as to what crime he is suspected of.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) confirmed Mr Hutchins had been detained, saying: "We are aware a UK national has been arrested but it is a matter for the authorities in the US."