A masked gang of thugs who forced a terrified man into a car at a supermarket have been locked up.

Police were called to the Tesco Superstore at approximately 12:20pm on March 5 after receiving several calls from horrified witnesses who had seen the victim being taken against his will.

CCTV footage showcased the man in his 20s drive into the car park at the store in Blackburn in a Skoda Octavia and walk towards the trolley shelter alongside a second man, reports Lancs Live.

Gratas Mitkus, Mantas Vitkus and Liudvitkas Luksys then detained the victim and took him back to his car, before driving away.

The second man rushed into the store to seek refuge and to raise the alarm.

Lancashire Constabulary said CCTV enquiries found the Skoda was seen to leave along Burnley Road and then turn into Gloucester Road.

It is believed the victim was at an address in that road with the defendants for around 20 minutes.

Further enquiries showed the trio return to Tesco around 12.40pm where they collected the car in which they had arrived in 20 minutes earlier.

Following a number of enquiries all three were arrested on the M62 at 7pm.

In the boot of one of the defendants’ vehicles, officers found a pair of work gloves, some thick adhesive tape, a crow-bar and a new role of black bin-liners.

A knife-sharpening iron was recovered from the side of the driver’s seat.

Detectives said a "considerable amount of work, including witness appeals" was put into locating the victim who "thankfully came forward to say that he was safe and well".

Liudikas, 25, of no fixed address, Mitkus, 25, of no fixed address, and Viktus, 26, of Holland Street, Hull, were charged with kidnap and affray.

All three pleaded guilty to affray and were sentenced at Preston Crown Court earlier this week.

Liudukas and Vitkus were jailed for 15 months and Mitkus received 17 months custody.

DC Hazel Richardson, of East CID, said: “These three defendants took a man against his will in broad daylight and their behaviour left all who saw it shocked and concerned for the victim’s welfare. I am sure they will all be relieved to know the victim is now safe and well.

“This type of behaviour will not be tolerated by Lancashire Police and we will use all the resources available to us ensure victims are kept safe and that offenders are brought to justice.

“This was an extremely complex investigation, involving colleagues from a number of departments.

"I would like to thank my colleagues, including officers from West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester Police, for their diligent work in ensuring these defendants were quickly identified, arrested and brought before the court.

"I would also like to thank the public for their ongoing support.”

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