A group of London-based drug dealers who falsely imprisoned a man from Norwich and drove him in the boot of a car to Essex before assaulting and abandoning him have been jailed for more than 20 years.

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The 44-year-old victim was lured to the West Earlham centre on November 13 last year on the pretext of offering him some work on their behalf. Instead, he was threatened with a knife, and forced into the boot of a Ford Focus car.

Nathaniel Dixon, 27 of Senrab Street, London, Chase Clarke, also 27, of Candy Street, London and Roy Davidson, 29 of Code Street, London, appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced after previously pleading guilty to false imprisonment, conspiracy to supply heroin and conspiracy to supply cocaine. They were each jailed tor seven years.

The court heard that during a two hour drive to Loughton, which borders Epping Forest, the victim was subjected to repeated death threats and threats of serious violence.

He was so convinced that he was about to die that he attempted to leave forensic traces in the boot of the vehicle for the police to find later.

Once they arrived at Loughton the victim was removed from the car and assaulted with a knife and threatened with what he believed to be a gun.

It is believed that the gang were disturbed by a dog-walker and made off, leaving the victim alone. Eventually, he was able to make his way to a nearby house and raise the alarm.

Police believe the motive for the kidnap was to enforce a drug debt owed to the group by another man in the city, and that the victim was ‘collateral damage’ in the dispute.

The incident was investigated by Norwich CID, and during the course of their enquiries they uncovered a drug dealing network bringing heroin and crack cocaine into the city.

A fourth man, Jermaine Dixon, 29, of Harewood Drive, London was today jailed for two years after previously pleading guilty to possession of heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply. Speaking after the case, DI Andy Ninham of Norwich CID said: “From the start, this was a challenging and complex inquiry, and I’m very satisfied with the outcome.

“This sends a strong message that Norfolk Constabulary will investigate offences of this nature extremely thoroughly to protect our communities and bring would-be offenders to justice.

“I have no doubt that had the gang not been disturbed, then some serious harm would have come to him. I’m very grateful to the victim for having the courage to come forward as I know this has caused him a great deal of personal stress and I hope he can start to move on with his life now the offenders have been imprisoned.

“This was an isolated and extremely rare incident in terms of the violence used and our on-going work to tackle drug dealing taking across the county.

“It remains a priority for the force and we regularly carry out many successful operations. Officers constantly analyse local intelligence to identify and target offenders and disrupt drug activity.”

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