A GANG who left a 16-year-old tied up in woodland in a bid for a £2,000 ransom payment avoided having their sentences increased.

The Manchester trio pounced last January after learning that the boy's older brother had received a compensation payout following a road accident.

He was accosted outside a Moston takeaway and was punched, kicked, threatened with rape and tied up in woodland.

Morgan Clarke, 19, of Clock Tower Close, Little Hulton and Anton Thompson, 20, were jailed for seven years, while Declan Andrews, 18, got five-and-a-half years for his role.

All three admitted kidnap and blackmail, while Andrews and Thompson also pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice and weapons offences.

The pair had gone to the home of the kidnap victim's family and, in an attempt to get them to retract their allegations, broke in and demanded cash.

The three were jailed at Manchester Crown Court in October.

Lawyers for Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC argued at the Court of Appeal that the trio got off too lightly and that their "unduly lenient" sentences should be increased.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett refused to increase the youths' sentences.

Clarke had been an "immature" 18-year-old, while both Thompson and Andrews had suffered very difficult childhoods.

Both had seen members of their very close family commit suicide in recent years, Lord Burnett told the London court.

Although the kidnap of the 16-year-old had caused him and his family great distress, their sentences could not be said to be too soft, he said.

"Whilst we accept that a different judge might have arrived at longer sentences, given the youth of these offenders and the mitigation available, we don't consider that the sentences can be viewed as unduly lenient," he said.

The sentences passed against Clarke, Andrews, of Flexbury Walk, Newton Heath, and Thompson, of Kilmaine Avenue, Blackley, were upheld.

As well as his role in the kidnap and blackmail, Clarke admitted a separate attempted robbery, during which he and an accomplice had tried to carjack a man.