FOUR men have been jailed after posing as police officers to kidnap a victim from outside his Bridport home, then assaulting and blackmailing him.

Leslie Richardson, also known as Leslie Ades, aged 53 and of Westcliff-on-Sea, Lewis James Needham, aged 29 and of Dorchester, and Nigel Geoffrey Moors, aged 51 and of Puddletown, were all sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on Friday January 29 2021 after being found guilty at an earlier trial of conspiracy to kidnap, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and blackmail.

Dorset Echo:

Richardson was sentenced to 11 years in prison, Needham and Moors both received a nine-year jail term.

A fourth defendant, Ashley David Beeden, aged 33 and of Enfield, pleaded guilty to an offence of conspiracy to kidnap in June 2020 and was sentenced to nine years in prison on Friday February 19 2021.

On Wednesday January 8 2020 the victim left his home address in Bridport at 7.40am to go to work and as he walked into a communal area of his building he was confronted by a group of several men who claimed they were police officers and that he was under arrest.

The men went to put him in handcuffs and the victim tried to resist their efforts but was overpowered and dragged into the rear of a vehicle.

The vehicle travelled to the Maiden Newton area before then driving to the Bovington area, where the victim was removed from the car.

The men demanded he pay them £7,000, to which he replied he did not have that much but would make efforts to get them the money.

The victim was then violently assaulted, leaving him with multiple face injuries and a wrist injury from the handcuffs.

Threats were made to harm his loved ones and the men took his flat keys and wallet, forcing him to give them his PIN. The men then left him by the roadside and drove off.

The victim was able to contact a friend and was picked up at around 10.30am, but rather than go to hospital for treatment to his injuries, he asked to be taken home as he was concerned about his loved ones. He did not report the matter to police.

At 5.05pm that same day he went to the enquiry office at Weymouth police station for an unrelated matter.

The enquiry officer noted his injuries and asked what had happened but he refused to disclose anything.

He was advised to attend hospital to seek medical treatment and it was discovered that he had sustained a fractured nose, as well as severe swelling and bruising to his right eye and markings to his wrists consistent with handcuffs being applied.

Officers spoke to the victim and took an account from him but he was reluctant to provide a formal complaint for fear of reprisals.

Detectives went to see the victim again the following day and he was still reluctant to engage. Call data from his phone was obtained, which showed numbers that had been used to send threatening messages the victim.

Through enquiries detectives linked one of the phones to Beeden and further investigations revealed the involvement of Needham and Richardson.

All three men were arrested on Tuesday January 14 2020.

On Friday February 21 officers located the vehicle involved in the incident in Weymouth and the driver confirmed they had recently purchased the car, a Volkswagen Golf, from Moors.

Moors was also then arrested and a forensic examination of the vehicle produced blood samples matching the DNA profile of the victim.

Detective Constable Charlie Soutine, of Weymouth CID, said: “This was a terrifying incident for the victim that left him and his loved ones fearing for their safety. As a result he was reluctant to support our investigation, but we were still able to piece together the evidence to prove the involvement of these defendants so they could face justice for their actions.

“Our enquiries included a large amount of detailed intelligence work and forensic examinations and I want to thank all those who were part of this thorough investigation that helped us to build the case and compile strong evidence that was able to convince the jury of these men’s involvement.”