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Burnley masked men in ‘drug debt’ attack
TWO ‘masked men’ who went on an eight-minute spree of violence over a drugs debt have been jailed for a total of nine years.
Burnley Crown Court had heard how the petrified victims feared for their lives when Nigel Canning and Michael Exton turned up at a house in Willow Street in the town armed with weapons.
Canning, 44, had a chain with spanner heads on it, while his accomplice, 41, had a piece of wood. All four were said to be part of the drugs community in the town.
Victim Donna Astin claimed both men, wearing full-face balaclavas, had invaded the house but Exton said he didn't go inside after he and Canning broke down the door.
Canning, of Kay Gardens, had also assaulted a loss prevention officer at TK Maxx and cut his finger, last November, after stealing a jacket. He admitted theft, possession of a blade and common assault in relation to that incident.
Canning and Exton, of Dall Street, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery, possessing an offensive weapon and assault allegations. Canning was jailed for five years and Exton got four years. Jane Dagnall, prosecuting, said the victims heard two knocks at the front door at 7.45pm on January 25.
One of the two men outside shouted: “Open the door” and the victims barricaded the front and back doors with furniture.
But the men got in and demanded: “Give us your money. Give us your drugs.”
Miss Dagnall said victim Michael Bolton ran outside, leaving Miss Astin inside. After more demands and violence against Miss Astin, the men left and attacked Mr Bolton outside.
The defendants were arrested, both still wearing the balaclavas.
The hearing was told Canning had 101 offences on his record, which started in 1980 and his co-defendant had a record of 49 offences.
For Canning, James Heyworth said he had been clean of heroin for two years.
He said: “Mr Exton went round because of a drugs debt. Mr Canning was the willing assistant.”
Philip Holden, defending Exton, had earlier told the hearing: “He did not go in the house.”