A VIOLENT thug who was part of a gang who abducted and tortured two men during a four-hour knife ordeal has been jailed for more than two years.

Alessandro Russo, 32, of Musselburgh, and co-accused Maomar Franco and Alberto Castillo bound their victims to chairs with cable ties before holding blades to their necks and threatening to murder them during the horror attack.

The three thugs burst into the Edinburgh flat armed with large knives and forced one victim to transfer cash from his bank account and also stole £1,700 in cash from him.

The trio barricaded the terrified men in a bedroom before fleeing the New Town flat with items including a Nintendo Switch games console, a mobile phone, a mountain bike and a laptop.

Russo, of Musselburgh's Ravensheugh Crescent, and Castillo, 36, were arrested the following day after the victims reported the terrifying attack in October 2021.

Franco, 36, was traced two weeks later after one of the victims spotted him DJing in a city centre Latin-themed nightclub and called in the police.

The three attackers pleaded guilty to abducting, assaulting and robbing victims Jacob Salaet and Daniel Ceballos in their capital home when they appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court earlier this year.

They returned to the dock for sentencing yesterday (Wednesday) where Sheriff Kenneth Campbell KC said the incident must have been “a terrifying experience” for the two victims.

East Lothian Courier: Edinburgh Sheriff CourtEdinburgh Sheriff Court

Sheriff Campbell said: “The circumstances I have heard about were very troubling.

“It was an unprovoked attack on two men with no clear motivation and you were all heavily under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

“The narrative clearly indicates an element of planning and it was a sustained attack.

“They reported to the police that they thought they were going to die.

“I am satisfied a custodial sentence is the only appropriate sentence in this case.”

Russo and his accomplices Franco and Castillo, both from Edinburgh, were each jailed for 27 months.

Stephen Mannifield, for Russo, said his client had two children and had “successfully dealt with his drug addiction that led to his involvement in this offence”.

Peter Winning, representing Franco, said there had been “no pre planning on his part” and the attack was “completely out of character” for his client.

The court also heard Castillo had been working as a kitchen porter and at the time of the attack had been addicted to crack cocaine.

His lawyer added her client was no longer using drugs and was “no longer involved in drug dealing”.

Previously prosecutor Ross Price told court the two victims had been at home in a basement flat in the city’s London Street at around midnight on October 27, 2021.

Mr Price said Jacob Salaet answered a knock at the door and was confronted by the three gang members who were carrying blades and made “jabbing motions” at the man’s stomach.

Jacob had his hands and feet bound while second victim Daniel Ceballos was “woken by three men by the side of his bed” and had a 15cm blade pointed at his stomach and neck.

The gang, who are all Spanish nationals, looted the flat and forced Daniel to transfer £1,391 to a bank account before getting him to hand over £1,715 in cash he had concealed in his bedroom.

Russo warned the pair not to contact police “or they would return and kill them” before barricading the men in a room and fleeing the capital flat around 4am.