Four sentenced for drug debt affray - Luton


Four men with two menacing looking dogs burst their way into a Luton flat terrifying two girls and a male friend inside, a court has heard today, Friday, 27 February 2015.

A Judge said he suspected they were enforcing a drug debt, but the men they were looking for were not there. However, three of the gang denied that was the motive. One of the four also had a hunting knife tucked in his waist band, which would have added to the terror felt by the victims, Luton Crown Court was told.

One of the four, Tasfa Tseyon, who was said to be the ring leader, had previously been jailed for taking part in the London riots.

Before the court were Tseyon, aged 21 of no fixed address; Anthony Podesta, aged 21, of Derwent Road, Luton; Curtis Bent, aged 25, from Tanfield Avenue, Brent, and a 15-year-old from Luton, who cannot be named for legal reasons. They all pleaded guilty to a charge of affray.

Tseyon, who also admitted criminal damage to his cell and the theft of a mobile phone at the flat was jailed for 18 months; Bent, who also admitted possession of the knife, was jailed for 14 months; Podesta was jailed for 13 months, and the juvenile, who was acting as a look out, was given a youth rehabilitation order and a curfew and will be living in the Cotswolds as part of the order.

Daniel Higgens, prosecuting, said two sisters and a male friend were at a flat in Mill Street, Luton on 04 October last year. At about 11pm there was loud knocking at the door which became louder and more persistant. When one of the women opened the door the four rushed in, two of them holding Staffordshire terrier dogs on leads. They were asking where two other men were. The women were unable to tell them. Tseyon took a phone from the man at the house and said he would come back the next day to see if they other men were there. The women could see the knife in Bent's waistband, but it was not produced or used.

Mr Higgins said: "As well as the knife there were two menacing looking dogs in the flat and the occupants felt very scared."

When arrested, the defendants either made no comment or denied being present. Bent still had the knife on him, which he said he carried for his own protection, having been attacked recently.

Judge Michael Kay QC said: "They have since given conflicting accounts about why they there looking for the men, but I am much more inclined to take the view they were enforcing a drug debt, which was the impression given to the occupants of the flat. Either way this was a serious affray, committed by a group of men late at night. Two dogs were also present, and although they may have been well behaved, anyone confronted by them would be entitled to feel a great deal of fear." He added that the excuse Bent had given for carrying the knife was "a desparate feature of life in Luton."

Barristers defending the men said they had not given thought to the consequences of their actions, and claimed they were looking for men who had robbed Podesta of £400 the day before. He suffers from Aspergers and they felt protective of him.

The teenager, who was only 14 at the time, told probation staff they were chasing a drug debt. He said he knew he needed to get away from bad influences in Luton.

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