A total of seven men are to stand trial in September over an alleged kidnapping and serious assault.

Following a review and plea hearing on Monday, Preston's Sessions House was told that defendants Faisal Fareed, Mohammed Fareed, Kamraan Fareed, Khizer Khan, Kasim Ahmed, and Nicholas Shaw - who all pleaded not guilty to the offences at previous hearings – would be joined in September by a seventh man, Faizaan Fareed.

Faizaan Fareed was arrested last week after spending months on the run from police in connection to offences which allegedly took place in Darwen between June 4 and June 15, 2021.

On Monday, the 26-year-old, from Blackburn, entered a not guilty plea to conspiring to kidnap and conspiring to cause GBH with intent.

Police launched an investigation on June 13, 2021, after receiving a call to say a man had allegedly been kidnapped and assaulted in the Birch Hall area of Darwen.

The alleged victim was then taken to a second location and allegedly further assaulted before he managed to escape and call for help.

It is thought the alleged victim was targeted in a case of mistaken identity.

Faisal Fareed, 22, of Lawrence Street Blackburn; Faizaan Fareed, 26, from Blackburn; Mohammed Fareed and Kamraan Fareed, both from Blackburn; Kasim Ahmed, 33, of Stirling Drive, Blackburn; Nicholas Shaw, 40, of Medina Close, Accrington; and Khizer Khan, 39, of Ormerod Street, Blackburn will stand trial on September 19.

Faisal Fareed and Faizaan Fareed, both present in court, were remanded into custody; Kasim Ahmed and Mohammed Fareed, also present in court, were released on bail; and Nicholas Shaw, who appeared via video link from HMP Preston will remain in prison, until the next pre-trial review hearing on August 11.

Two defendants who were absent during Monday’s proceedings, Kamraan Fareed and Khizer Khan, have been ordered to appear at court alongside the others on August 11.