THESE are the two vicious gangsters who kidnapped and tortured a North-East man, bringing terror to a peaceful village.

John Henry Haase, 48, and Daniel Michael Lafferty, 42, burst into Paul Flannigan's home in Burnhope Lodge, Burnhope, near Stanley, County Durham, in March last year.

Mr Flannigan - who told a court he had no idea why he was targeted - was attacked and dragged at gunpoint into a car by the balaclava-clad men.

He was taken to Liverpool, where he was subjected to hours of torture and threats, before being released.

He was beaten so badly during his ordeal that surgeons later had to remove one of his testicles.

The savage assault in March last year left Mr Flannigan's blood splashed all over the bedroom walls and bathroom of his home.

Yesterday, at Newcastle Crown Court, Judge Maurice Carr sentenced Haase and Lafferty, who are both from Liverpool, for their part in the attack.

He told the pair: "Each of you participated in violence to order. You were prepared to mete out significant violence to people whom you did not know."

Haase, who was earlier found guilty of various charges including kidnap and wounding, was jailed for 16 years. Lafferty was sentenced to 14 years.

Detective Inspector Shaun McElvaney, of Durham Constabulary's organised crime unit, said: "These men were clearly hired by organised criminals to recover debts, and were prepared to use significant violence to do it.

"We are very pleased with the sentence. It reflects the level of violence they were prepared to use on complete strangers.

"We hope it sends out a warning to the people who recruited them to do these acts."

Peter Johnson, prosecuting, said Lafferty, Haase, and a third, unknown man, had driven from Liverpool to Burnhope in Lafferty's car, a Ford Focus.

A security camera fitted to Mr Flannigan's house had picked up Lafferty and Haase outside his door on the evening of March 14.

They knocked and found no one home, so went to a pub in nearby Maiden Law.

Mr Flannigan returned from a night out shortly after 2am. At about 3.30am, the security camera recorded three men wearing balaclavas approaching the house. They kicked in the door, severely beat their victim and abducted him.

"There was a substantial amount of blood in the bathroom and on the walls of his house," said Mr Johnson.

The kidnappers eventually contacted the victim's father, David Flannigan, who picked up his injured son outside a pub on the outskirts of Liverpool.

Mr Flannigan, a scaffolder, was treated at Durham's University Hospital for two broken fingers, plus extensive facial and head injuries. Surgeons also operated to remove his badly damaged right testicle.

During the trial, he told the court it was a "complete mystery" as to why he was targeted by the gang.

When police arrested Lafferty, they found bloodstains on his coat and in his car that were later DNA matched to Mr Flannigan. They also traced calls from Lafferty's mobile phone to the victim's father.

The judge also sentenced Lafferty and Haase for their part in an apparently unprovoked shooting outside a pub in Neston, Cheshire, on March 29 - only two weeks after the Burnhope attack.

The victim, a 34-year-old, was in the pool room of the Lady Hamilton pub when he was attacked by Lafferty. He was dragged outside, where he was shot in the right leg by Haase.

Haase was convicted of five offences relating to the two incidents, at Newcastle Crown Court in July.

A jury found him guilty of kidnapping, two charges of wounding with intent, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, and possession of a firearm likely to cause a fear of violence.

A career criminal, his previous convictions included ten years in jail for dealing in heroin, plus other sentences for arson and violence.

Cocaine addict Lafferty, who had no previous convictions, had earlier pleaded guilty to kidnapping and two charges of wounding with intent.