The victim, a man in his 30s, had been kidnapped and held for 36 hours before he was rescued from a flat in Dean Road, NW2, at around 12:30hrs on Saturday, 18 February.

Detective Constable Tom Waller, of the Flying Squad, within Central Specialist Crime, who led the investigation, said: “This kidnapping was an appalling pre-planned attack on a man who suffered a terrifying ordeal.

“The Met is committed to making the streets of London safer and thanks to the dedicated work of the officers involved in this operation, these four men have been brought to justice.”

On Monday, 18 September, the following four men were convicted of false imprisonment at Reading Crown Court:

– Ervis Ademi, 22, (22.04.01), of Bedivere Road, Bromley;

– Xhekson Malollari, 31 (09.01.92) of Wykebeck Valley Road, Leeds;

– Mariglen Elezi, 30, (11.11.92) of Dean Road, Willesden Green;

– Hydajet Kadriu, 23 (07.05.00) of Cricklewood Broadway, NW2.

Malollari and Elezi were also found guilty of conspiracy to kidnap. Elezi was also found guilty of being in possession of a small amount of cocaine.

Two men lured an Italian man in his 30s to a bar in Cricklewood Broadway allegedly in respect of a drug debt owed by his friend for around £40,000.

Shortly after, the three men left together. They walked down Richborough Street and were then approached by two other men who were wearing balaclavas and who bundled the man into a car and took him to their stronghold Dean Road flat. One of the men had a knife and the victim received some cuts during the scuffle.

Whilst the man was held in the flat, he made several phone calls to his ex-partner and to friends to try to raise funds to meet a £110,000 demand.

Police became aware of the kidnap and initiated an investigation under code name ‘Operation Major’.

They deployed to the area at 02.00hrs on the morning on 17 February where they observed the flat covertly for several hours, watching several people come and go from the property.

At around 12:30hrs on 18 February, armed police performed a dynamic entry to the flat. They freed the kidnapped man, who was taken to hospital with several stab wounds, bruising and grazes.

Officers arrested two men in the flat (Malollari and Elezi) and chased two others who jumped out of a window to escape (Ademi and Kadriu). They were both caught and arrested outside the building.

Following their arrests, officers undertook extensive work to gather evidence against the four men. They carefully searched the flat where they found several pieces of evidence including the balaclavas, some blood-stained tissues, several mobile phones and keys to a car which had been at the scene of the kidnap on 16 February.

They obtained the bar’s CCTV footage and identified Malollari as one of the men who met the victim in the bar. They also gained CCTV footage from another nearby business and identified the same car at the scene of the kidnapping and parked outside the flat in Dean Road.

There were several incriminating photos and messages on the phones and one video showed the victim with a number of injuries, answering questions about money and pleading with the questioner not to kill him.

Ervis Ademi and Xhekson Malollar were sentenced at Amersham Crown Court on Friday, 22 September, to ten years’ imprisonment.

Mariglen Elezi and Hydajet Kadriu were each sentenced to four years’ imprisonment.

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