A gang of kidnappers who put a man in the boot of their car and threatened to kill him if his family didn't hand over £17,000 have been jailed.
The victim, who is in his 20s, disappeared in Thanet on October 23 last year before his family received a phone call saying he had been taken by people who believed he owed a debt and he would be killed if the money wasn’t paid.
During a series of calls from the kidnappers, the victim could be heard in pain in the background.
His family were ordered to withdraw £2,000 from a relative’s bank account, which was collected from them in a car park in Ramsgate.
Further demands for cash then took place, around 24 hours after the kidnapping, and the family reported it to police.
A sighting had been made of the victim being put in the boot of a BMW near Margate Road in Ramsgate, and officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate tracked down the vehicle and arrested the driver, 23-year-old Reece Stovell, in Manston Way on October 25.
Officers stopped another car shortly after midnight on October 26 and they found the victim being held by two men, 22-year-old Elliot Cocks, and 24-year-old Marco Bondzie.
"I cannot begin to imagine the terror the victim's family must must have experienced..."
The victim had suffered various injuries, including deep cuts and heavy bruising.
Two lock knives were found in the car, together with mobile phones which linked the men to the ransom calls made to the family.
Bondzie, of Cannonbury Road, Ramsgate, was charged with kidnap along with Cocks, of Prices Avenue in Margate, and Stovell, of Princess Margaret Avenue, Ramsgate.
All three pleaded guilty to the charge at Canterbury Crown Court and have been sentenced to 22 years imprisonment between them.
Bondzie was sentenced to nine years, Cocks eight years and Stovell five years.
Senior investigating officer detective chief inspector, Gavin Moss, said: "To plan and carry out a kidnap, including the assault of the victim, is unusual here in Kent and it shows just how vile these men are.
"I cannot begin to imagine the terror the victim’s family must must have experienced when they realised a loved one was in such danger.
"It can be difficult for families to know what to do when faced with that situation.
"Fortunately, we have teams of specialists who are trained to react quickly to the incidents of this nature and safely recover the victim.
"I hope the victim and his family can begin to get on with their lives, safe in the knowledge that Bondzie, Cocks and Stovell are now facing a long time in prison."