Plasterer cleared of kidnap charge

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A plasterer accused of conspiring to kidnap a plumber in a row over missing money has been cleared by a court.

Andrew Ashworth, 22, had denied being part of a group of three men who bundled Matthew Hewitt into a van near Booths in Penwortham in May last year.

A jury at Preston Crown Court cleared Mr Ashworth, of Fylde Avenue, Farington Moss, Leyland, of the allegations in just 20 minutes yesterday.

Two 30-year-old men from Leyland will be sentenced at Preston Crown Court on July 20 for their part in Mr Hewitt’s ordeal.

Plumber Mr Hewitt had previously told the court how an acquaintance had wrongly accused him of stealing cash from his home in Leyland last year, following an evening at a nearby pub.

Giving evidence, Mr Hewitt told how he had been contacted by two men he did not know and ordered to meet them about the money.

When he arrived, he was dragged into a Citroen Berlingo van and assaulted.