A DRUG "enforcer" who slashed a man's leg to the bone over a £200 debt was yesterday locked up for seven years.

Stephen Stoddart's victim leapt from his car and jumped over a wall to escape – but plunged 14ft into a stream and broke his back.

Just two months earlier, the 26-year-old recruited two "impressionable" teenagers to go with him to sort out another cocaine customer who owed money.

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The trio tracked down the first victim to a remote spot near Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, where Stoddart beat him with a sock filled with "a heavy object".

Brothers Connor Armstrong, 19, and Reece Proudfoot, 18, delivered kicks while the man – who was said to also owe £200 – was on the ground, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Richard Bennett told the court that the victim suffered a superficial cut to his head, and broken fingers while trying to protect himself.

Stoddart, of Langdale Road, Darlington, admitted charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, inflicting grievous bodily harm, and driving without insurance and a licence.

Armstrong and Proudfoot, of The Fallows, Cockfield, near Bishop Auckland, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and were given a six-month suspended prison sentence and a four-month referral order respectively.

Barristers for both teenagers said although they went along with Stoddart in September last year, they did not know there was going to be violence.

In November, the former paving contractor attacked the other man with a knife after driving to Richmond and making him get into his car.

Mr Bennett said the victim was "fearful for his life" and jumped from the Seat Leon before leaping over the wall, after Stoddart told him: "That's for not getting in touch."

The attacker later boasted in a text message to a friend about "nearly slashing him up" and said: "I made him squeal."

Mark Styles, mitigating, said Stoddart "wants to be someone who can be relied upon and contribute to the general good of society" after he is released.

Mr Styles said the father-of-one had written a letter to the knife victim, apologising for the attack.

He added: "He was a middle-man for other people who were more predominant and higher up the chain.

"When the debts were due, Stoddart found himself being intimidated and being chased by them for the money, and that led to him tracking down the complainants in both cases."