Gangsters threatened man with hot iron and forced him to undress in viral clip

A man was threatened by gangsters after racking up a debt – with the criminals forcing him to undress on camera and even saying they would use a hot iron on him.

Footage of the incident was widely shared online, with police believing that that the 28-year-old's life was at risk.

In order to pay off his debt, Ryan Leonard began working in a "persistent" and "professional" heroin and crack cocaine drugs operation.

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Police on patrol in Birkenhead spotted the wanted man in June of this year after seeing him "acting suspiciously around a group of drug users."

He was later found to be in possession of £675 in cash.

But a bigger bust was to come when they noticed Leonard's girlfriend Brooke Morgan "appearing very nervous" while also detecting the smell of cannabis.

A search revealed a cheap looking Nokia mobile and a plastic bag containing 71 wraps of crack cocaine and 17 wraps of heroin.

They then searched the woman's home on Albany Road in Kensington which uncovered drugs with a street value of tens of thousands of pounds, a machete, and £1,200 in cash in her bedroom wardrobe with her boyfriends DNA also found on the drugs packages.

It later came to light that the drug selling was related to a county lines ring known as "Gin Bob".

Tom Challinor, prosecuting, said the ring was involved in "persistent, regular, professional drug dealing".

It is a busy line, and it has been doing a great deal of business," he said.

Leonard appeared in court via video link to HMP Forest Bank with his lawyer outlining "quite an unpleasant video did the rounds earlier this year" where his client appeared partially undressed and was threatened with a hot iron and told to remove his underwear.

Police had previously warned Leonard that he was at risk of being killed by the gang due to his debts.

"This was owed to people with whom it is not wise to have a debt. The video was a snapshot of what he was being threatened with," his lawyer said.

"He has had some difficulty since remanded into custody due to that video, hence why he finds himself out of the area. I understand there is a plan to move him further away in the future."

Leonard admitted possession of cocaine and heroin with intent to supply, supplying cocaine and heroin and money laundering and received a sentence of 54 months on Friday.

His girlfriend Brooke was described as having "performed a limited function under duress".

Her defence said: "In my submission, she has been through quite enough. She has had this hanging over her head, and it has driven her to a state of hysteria – I ask for one last chance."

Brooke pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cocaine and heroin, possession of cannabis and money laundering and received a 24-month imprisonment suspended for two years as well as 150 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitation activity requirement.

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