A RETIRED farmer recovering from a hip operation was subjected to a ‘terrifying’ ordeal at his Shavington home by two masked men from Crewe.

Ryan Lee Thomas, 24, of Perry Fields, Crewe and Benjamin Frank Hargreaves, 25, of Birch Gardens, Sandbach, were each jailed for five years at Chester Crown Court on Wednesday, January 29.

Both pleaded guilty to an attempted robbery carried out at the Newcastle Road farm of Neil Davies at around 8pm on November 6.

The court heard that the pair mistakenly believed Mr Davies’ owned a safe, containing money that they intended to use to pay off drug debts.

Prosecuting, Owen Edwards said: “Mr Davies was at home on his own watching football on the TV when the doorbell rang.

“He got up to answer the door and was confronted by the two defendants with their faces covered.

“One said: ‘Where’s your money? We know you’ve got a safe’.”

Mr Davies denied having money on the premises, at which point Thomas and Hargreaves threatened to find a knife to stab him, the court heard.

The victim was lead into a bedroom and the pair searched the lounge, but a house alarm went off and both fled.

Mr Davies dialled 999 and officers in Sandbach identified a silver Ford Kuga linked to the pair.

Shortly afterwards, a van pulled up to the car. Hargreaves and Thomas got out and were arrested.

Their clothes matched those worn by offenders in CCTV footage obtained earlier from Mr Davies’ farm.

Mitigating, Colin Drew said Hargreaves was acting on information that Mr Davies had a safe, and was unaware that the victim of the crime was elderly.

“He owed money for drugs; £2,500 and threats had been made,” said Mr Drew. “He has a five year old son and the individual was making threats that he knew where his current lady friend lives, who is expecting a child.”

Mr Drew said Thomas was ‘wracked by drug addiction’ and was ‘contrite and ashamed of what he did’.

The Recorder of Chester, Judge Elgan Edwards said: “This is a dreadful offence and the general public should be protected from people like this.”

Sentencing Thomas and Hargreaves to five years imprisonment, he added: “You terrified that man in his own home. Your behaviour is quite disgraceful. I have little sympathy for either of you.”