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Organised crime gang jailed for kidnap and assault

|News, Violent crime

Eight men have been jailed today (12 November 2021) at Southampton Crown Court for their involvement in the kidnap and assault of a man at a property on St. Andrews Road, Southampton.

During the early hours of 12 March 2021, the victim was assaulted and kidnapped from the property on St. Andrews Road, which was being used as a cannabis factory operated by an organised crime gang.

The men took an assortment of weapons to the property, including an imitation handgun, a sword and a metal pole, and bundled the victim into the back of a car where they continued to assault him.

The victim endured an assault lasting around 25 minutes, before being released from the car.

Disturbingly, much of his assault was recorded on a mobile phone which demonstrated the violence he had been subjected to.

Armando Topalli, 28, Lavdrim Ismaili, 28, Brixiado Halilaj, 21, Zef Gjoka, 29, Spartak Demiraj, 31, Arben Lleshi, 31, Aranit Topalli, 28, and Edison Hoxha, 26, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

All defendants, apart from Edison Hoxha, were also charged and pleaded guilty to kidnap.

In addition, Aranit Topalli pleaded guilty to Cannabis Production in relation to the property on St. Andrews Road. Armando Topalli also pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

All will now spend between three years and seven and a half years in prison.

Tammy Mears, CPS Wessex Senior Crown Prosecutor, said: “The prosecution of this case required the meticulous review of substantial evidence obtained by the police during their thorough investigation.

“CCTV, mobile photo data, ANPR records and medical evidence proved beyond doubt that these men were responsible for the ordeal they inflicted on the victim. The overwhelming weight of this evidence meant that all defendants had no choice but to plead guilty and face the consequences of their criminality.

“The CPS is working closely with the police from the earliest opportunity to make sure we build strong cases for prosecution. We are committed to disrupting organised crime gangs and will do all we can to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.”

Notes to editors

  • The defendants received the following terms of imprisonment:
    • Armando Topalli - 7 years and 6 months 
    • Bixiado Halilaj – 4 years and 6 months
    • Arben Lleshi – 4 years and 6 months
    • Spartak Demiraj – 4 years
    • Aranit Topalli – 6 years
    • Zef Gjoka – 4 years and 6 months
    • Lavdrim Ismaili – 4 years
    • Edison Hoxha – 3 years and 4 months

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