A gang of men face a stretch in prison after three of them kidnapped a 19-year-old in a Brighton street in broad daylight.
The five men are currently in prison on remand awaiting sentence after two of them were convicted by a jury at Lewes Crown today (Tuesday 22 December).
They were found guilty after a week-long trial and remanded in custody by Judge Charles Kemp who will sentence them in the new year.
Saimir Nezaj, 24, and Ilir Hasa, also 24, of Denmark Villas, Hove, were convicted of conspiring to kidnap 19-year-old Tony Kurt.
They and two other men snatched the Albanian teenager off the street in Princes Terrace, Brighton, just before 6pm on Sunday 12 April.
The Vauxhall Astra car they used, which belonged to Hasa, was found four days later in Benett Avenue, Hove.
Mr Kurt came forward and contacted police after he saw video appeals put out by the force in English and Albanian.
Before the trial another man, Gazmend Mula, admitted conspiring to kidnap Mr Kurt. Mula, 29, of Temple Street, Brighton, also admitted having class A drugs with intent to supply.
Ardi Murataj, 20, and Redon Sadria, 19, of New Steine, Brighton, also admitted having class A drugs – ecstasy and cocaine – with intent to supply.
Nezaj was also found guilty today of threatening or intimidating a witness. He tried to nobble Murataj, one of his co-accused, while they were in prison awaiting trial.
Sussex Police said that the initial breakthrough for detectives came when they traced Hasa through his car.
At the time the force thanked the public and the media for helping with the search. CCTV footage of the kidnap was shared on YouTube and social media as part of the effort to trace the car and its owner and the kidnap victim, whose identity wasn’t initially known.
Detective Chief Inspector Jason Taylor, from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said: “This was a fast-moving and complex investigation.
“We did not even know the identity of the kidnap victim who was attacked and bundled into a car in broad daylight on the street.
“We were making inquiries across the county and beyond to trace him.
“I would like to pay tribute to the entire investigation team who have worked so tirelessly on the case.”
The CCTV footage released at the time to try to trace the victim is included in the clip below.