Two men who kidnapped a businessman at knifepoint and threatened him with power tools to force him to pay them £20,000 have been charged in court.

The incident, which happened in the Hambleton area of North Yorkshire in September 2019, saw James Stephens and Bradley Wright, both 26, flag the victim's car down.

Thinking they needed help, the businessman wound down his window, after which he was punched and kicked by the pair.

Dragging him to a field, one put a knife to his throat while the other held an electric drill to his chest.

They then stole his jewellery and locked him in a car boot before driving around making further threats.

The Northern Echo: James Stephens Picture: NORTH YORKSHIRE POLICEJames Stephens Picture: NORTH YORKSHIRE POLICE

The attackers then demanded he pay them £20,000 in a week.

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He made a smaller bank transfer of money before they set him free, but it was later revealed the transaction had failed.

After the incident, the victim was taken to hospital by ambulance and treated for several injuries.

Police believe the incident was isolated and targeted - the kidnappers claimed it was over alleged business debt.

Both Wright and Stephens were jailed for more than 17 years between them in court yesterday (Wednesday, July 28)

A large investigation was launched by North Yorkshire Polices detectives and CID to track down the attackers.

This led to the arrest of Stephens and Wright, who were both from Hillingdon, West London.

Investigators discovered they had travelled from London to carry out the kidnapping.

The pair were jointly charged with kidnap, blackmail, robbery, possession of a bladed item and criminal damage, which both pleaded guilty to.

They appeared at Teesside Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced.

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A judge jailed Stephans for a total of nine years and seven months, while Wright was jailed for eight years.

The Northern Echo: Bradly Wright Picture: NORTH YORKSHIRE POLICEBradly Wright Picture: NORTH YORKSHIRE POLICE

Detective Constable Mike Cope, who led the investigation for Hambleton and Richmondshire CID, said it was a “truly terrifying and horrifically violent attack.”

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He added: “The victim was left traumatised by his ordeal. He was unable to work and has been deeply affected by the what happened to him.

“Despite his harrowing ordeal he was courageous enough to help the police with enquiries.

“I’d stress that attacks like this are very rare and we believe this was targeted and pre-planned.”

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