A Gainsborough man convicted of false imprisonment of a drug user has been jailed for two years at Lincoln Crown Court.
Jim Smith was found guilty by a jury following a trial.
However, he was cleared of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent to the man and the jury failed to reach a verdict on a third charge of kidnap. He was later cleared of that offence after the prosecution subsequently offered no evidence against him.
Smith, 25, of Riseholme Road, Gainsborough, denied all three charges.
During the trial the jury heard how Smith tied Brian Page to a tree keeping him imprisoned for a number of hours.
The incident, which the jury was told was an attempt by Smith to enforce a drug debt owed to him by Page, occurred in the early hours of 2nd August 2012 at an area of woodland at the back of the Summergangs Lane travellers’ site in Gainsborough.
Giving evidence, Smith said he did not kidnap Page or beat him with a rock as alleged by the prosecution but he admitted he was a drug user but said he took cannabis and nothing else.
He told the jury: “I was not a drug dealer.”
Smith, a father of four, said Page supplied him with cannabis and he used to give Page money to buy drugs for him from Scunthorpe.
He said that on the night of the alleged kidnap he went with Page to the Murco garage in Gainsborough and loaned him for a £5 mobile phone top-up.
Smith said he had previously had an argument with his partner and after visiting the garage he walked to Summergangs Lane rather than return home.
He told the jury: “I don’t know where Brian Page went.”
The jury heard that Page had been selling drugs on behalf of Smith but they fell out after Page lost a stash of drugs and money.
Page, who gave evidence via a video link, told the jury that he was only able to escape after Page fell asleep.
The court was told that Page was so fearful he has had to move.
Stephen Lowne, prosecuting, said: “As a result of this he has had to move away from Gainsborough where he has lived since the age of seven.”
“That is because of his fear of further attacks from the defendant and members of his family.”
He added: “He is always looking over his shoulder when he goes out. He fears he will end up dead in a ditch.”
Judge Michael Heath, passing sentence, told Smith: “It is quite clear from the evidence, in particular from the text messages going back and forth between you and Brian Page, that he was dealing in drugs on your behalf and he owed you money in relation to those drugs.”
“You tied him to a tree so that he could not escape. It is quite plain he was very fearful of what was going to happen to him.”
Judge Heath added: “He remained where he was for, in my judgement, just less than two hours.”
“I am quite satisfied that you threatened him that if he didn’t pay you his debt he would end up in the ditch.”
Smith, in evidence, denied he was a dealer and claimed Page was selling drugs to him.
He told the jury he was totally innocent and played no part in any false imprisonment or violence against Page.