Three Sheffield men have been jailed for a total of 24 years for their part in a £100,000 blackmail plot.
Gamal Foster, aged 30 of Ironside Road, Gleadless Valley, Sheffield, was jailed for 12 years after being convicted of false imprisonment, blackmail, possession of a firearm when prohibited and possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and heroin.
Ahmed Ismail, 22, of Exeter Drive, Broomhall, and Mubarrack Hassan, 24, of Glossop Road, Broomhill, were both jailed for six years for blackmail and false imprisonment.
All three men were found not guilty of kidnap.
Sheffield Crown Court heard the two victims, Sajjid Anwar and Azad Hussain, had been taken from Huddersfield and driven to a flat on Plowright Mount in Gleadless Valley in Sheffield on January 9.
Matthew Donkin, prosecuting, said one of the victims had a loaded revolver pushed into his face so hard he began to bleed.
Mr Donkin said: “They began to call friends to try to raise some money. They were told to raise the money, but not to say they had been kidnapped.”
He added after calling friends in an attempt to raise money, the pair were then taken from the flat and put back into the car.
The jury was told that the ordeal came to a close after armed police intercepted the hostage takers as they made their way to another location.
The car was driven to Daresbury View, Arbourthorne, where firearms officers attended and surrounded the vehicle.
The jury was told that Foster fled the scene when armed officers swooped.
Mr Donkin said: “Foster was the first person to see them and fled. Mr Anwar and Mr Hussain were identified as hostages. Ismail and Hassan were taken from the vehicle and arrested.
“Foster made good his escape, he was seen to skip the fence and as he did so he was seen to throw the gun over the fence.”
But Stephen Mejzner defending, Ismail, had told Sheffield Crown Court the complainants had ‘lied’ and the kidnap was a ‘scam’.
He said the ‘biggest inconsistency’ was the issue of knives allegedly being used by the defendants.
Mr Mejzner said: “Sajjid said there was one knife and the driver had it, Azad said there were two knives, one in the front and one in the back.
“If they were being threatened with a knife throughout the journey, how are they going to get that wrong?”
Errol Ballentyne, defending Foster, had said there was ‘inconclusive’ DNA evidence that Mr Anwar’s blood was found in the barrel of the gun after one of the defendants allegedly had pressed it against his face.
He said: “It would be expected that blood would have been transferred.”
The defence said conflicting reports from both victims suggested that this wasn’t a kidnap but it was in fact part of a wider scam organised by the victims to pay off a debt.
Mr Ballentyne added that Mr Anwar had said he got into the car himself, while Mr Hussain said he was ‘dragged and shoved’ when the alleged kidnapping took place.