Pair of ‘thugs’ jailed for park robberies

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Two men who robbed a group of youngsters in a Poulton park have been described by a judge as ‘acting like thugs’.

One victim was grabbed in a headlock and punched on the head by Owen Francis and Joseph Sherdley-Davies.

Both were given two-and-a-half years in jail by a judge.

Francis was given another six months because the offence happened while he was on a suspended sentence. Francis, 24, of Fleetwood Road North, Thornton, had admitted three counts of robbery and one of attempted robbery.

Sherdley-Davies, 23, of Waring Drive, Thornton, pleaded guilty to two robberies and two attempted robberies.

The offences were carried out at Hill Park, Poulton last April. The two defendants had gone into the park and began chatting to a group of 16 and 17-year-old boys. However, an argument broke out.

Colin Buckle, prosecuting, said: “At that stage, the defendants started making requests for them to empty their pockets. ”

One teenager was grabbed in a headlock by Sherdley-Davies and punched to the side of the head by Francis, who stole an iPhone from him. Sherdley-Davies approached another boy, shoved him in the chest, pushing him to the ground and took a Blackberry mobile, a key and £4 cash.

Another of the group, believing he was going to be assaulted, started to empty his pockets, handing over cash and an iPhone.

Another teenager claimed he had no money, but Francis shook his jacket and forced him to hand over cash.

The court heard that, as the pair walked away, Francis turned round and warned the victims not to tell the police, otherwise he would burn their house down.

At the time, Francis was on a suspended sentence order for wounding. Waheed Omran-Baber, for Francis, said his client was resigned to the fact he was going to prison.

“He puts it down to being drunk at the time, showing bravado,” he said.

Daniel Harman, for Sherdley-Davies, said his client had had an extremely difficult childhood. His stepfather was murdered and this seemed to have a catastrophic effect on his life.

“He is fully ashamed,” he said.