A gang have been jailed after they kidnapped a man in Plumstead and tortured him in a Kent field – only to be discovered by an Air Ambulance testing its search light.

Four men, from across Greenwich, kidnapped the 22-year-old late at night at knifepoint on April 19.

They thought the man had stolen between £30,000 to £40,000 of crack cocaine and heroin from a drugs safe house in Gilbourne Road, Plumstead.

He was driven to the field in Southfleet where he was beaten and tortured, as well as stabbed in his hands in the hours after midnight.

By a pure stroke of good fortune, an air ambulance helicopter flew over their heads while testing its search light as it attended a completely unrelated crash a mile away.

Thinking it was police after them, the group scattered, allowing the victim to escape into the darkness while bleeding heavily from his injuries.

Thanks to his escape, Met Police were able to locate a drugs factory and substantial amount of crack cocaine at the Plumstead address, and eventually arrest the whole group.

The victim was taken to hospital for his injuries, including the stab injuries to his hands, and he is still recovering today.

Kofi Francis, 23, of Whetstone Road in Kidbrooke, was in charge of the kidnapping and hired an associate, Dillian Ode, to pay the victim £12,000 to drop the prosecution, but this attempt was thwarted by undercover officers.

Francis was found guilty of conspiracy to kidnap, and perverting the course of justice on November 29, and found guilty of GBH and robbery the next day at Woolwich Crown Court. He will be sentenced on January 26.

Ode, 23, from Kirtley Road in Sydenham, was found guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and sentenced to a year behind bars on December 1.

The other members of the gang jailed at Woolwich Crown Court on December 20 were:

• Daren Davies, 27, of Bostall Hill in Abbey Wood, was jailed for eight years for conspiracy to kidnap.

• Daniel Edwards, 49, of Gilbourne Road in Plumstead, was jailed for seven and a half years for conspiracy to kidnap and the supply of crack cocaine.

• Daniel Cogger, 26, of no fixed abode, was jailed for six years and eight months for conspiracy to kidnap.

Lily May Francis, 19, from Sidcup, and Louis Flemming, 19, from Abbey Wood, were found not guilty.

Detective Constable Andrew Payne, the investigating officer from the Greenwich Gangs Unit, said: “The sentences passed today are reflective of the seriousness and consequences of involvement in Class A drugs.

“Drug supply ruins lives, whether it is those that use it, or the aftermath of the violence committed by those who participate in its activity.

“Those who engage in this type of offending, should be aware that they will spend a considerable amount of time in prison as a result.”