A TEENAGER faked his own kidnapping to blackmail his dad after becoming involved in a county lines drugs gang.

The boy, who cannot by named for legal reasons protecting victims of blackmail, concocted the scheme after his dad flushed the boy’s drug stash down the toilet.

He then pretended that he had been kidnapped in order to convince his dad to pay up for the flushed substances.

However the Southampton man, who also cannot be named, “bravely” reported his own son to the police.

The boy, now 19, was given a suspended sentence at Southampton Crown Court.

An accomplice, 17, who helped in the fake kidnapping threat, was sentenced to a supervision order.

The court was told how the 19-year-old boy had become involved in the county lines drugs gang.

The gangs traffic drugs and sometimes children into rural areas and smaller towns, away from major cities.

Gang leaders then keep a central phone number, usually based in their original city, for drug users to place orders.

The court heard the boy’s kidnap scheme involved threatening messages, sent to the father who had flushed the drugs, that his son had been kidnapped and would be hurt if he did not pay up.

He did pay the money, but also reported the incident to the police.

The two boys pleaded guilty to conspiracy to blackmail.

Mitigating for the 17-year-old, barrister Rob Griffiths said his client was “very young” and that investigations were ongoing into the possibility that he had been a victim of modern slavery.

Mitigating for the 19-year-old, barrister Richard Martin said the boy had begun to pay off his father by working at his business.

He said the teenager had been “utterly used” by the gang.

The 19-year-old was given a 12 month sentence, suspended for two years, including 280 hours of unpaid work.

The 17-year-old was given 24 month supervision order, including 91 days of activity requirement and a six month curfew.

Why can the Echo not name the defendants?

Most young offenders, victims and witnesses under the age of 18 are protected in UK law by something named a section 45 order, which bans the publication of information such as their name or address. This can be lifted, but often only in the most serious of offences.

Victims of blackmail are also protected by a separate reporting restriction. This is because repeating the blackmail and then identifying the victim would essentially reward the blackmail. In this case, because the defendant is related to the victim, identifying the defendant would identify the victim.