A SELF-STYLED Muslim leader whose false accusations of kidnap cost the police and council over £10,000 has been sentenced to prison.

Noor Ramjanally, 36, of Valley Hill, Loughton, was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court in his absence as the jury was told he had fled the country earlier this year.

Ramjanally claimed in August last year he had been kidnapped from his home address by two men, driven into Epping Forest and threatened at knifepoint to stop the Islamic prayer meetings he was holding at Murray Hall, in Borders Lane, Loughton.

But Judge Karen Walden-Smith described his allegations as a “pack of lies” after they were undermined by CCTV footage covertly installed at his flat for his own protection.

Prosecutor Matthew Gowan said, after earlier allegations made by Ramjanally of an arson attack at his home the council and police spent £1,300 installing extra security at his flat, including a fire door and video intercom system.

After his kidnap allegations, the police spent 1,850 man hours investigating his case at a cost of £9,234.

The court also heard, after Ramjanally's claims, the local area had suffered increased racial tensions and an increase in instances of racist graffiti.

The extra measures put in place at Ramjanally's flat proved his undoing as the CCTV cameras installed there proved no abduction had taken place.

Judge Walden-Smith said: “The camera clearly showed him leaving the premises. At the time he was being 'abducted' he was not in the presence of men threatening him with a knife, but simply walking calmly down the stairs.”

Ramjanally was picked up on CCTV later that day browsing the shelves at Homebase at the time he was alleged to have been kidnapped.

Sentencing Ramjanally to two years' imprisonment, Judge Walden-Smith said: “This allegation was a complete pack of lies. This was one of the worst examples of perverting the course of justice I've seen striking at the fabric of the justice system and also community relations.”

As Ramjanally is currently out of the country the police are currently considering their options to return him to justice.

After the guilty verdict was issued, Mr Gowan revealed Ramjanally is also on bail for three other offences.

He is alleged to have stolen money from South Woodford Mosque, where he was a member, and is also facing an allegation of fraud in relation to the mosque.

He is on bail for an allegation relating to benefits and was being investigated by the UK Borders Agency on suspicion he had greatly outstayed his leave in the country.