Masked robbers jailed for 18 years Date published: 25th July 2017 12.38pm

Two men have been jailed for 18 years for their role in an armed masked robbery in a rural Cheshire village.

Michael Allen, 53, of Windle Street, St Helens, and Mark Bennett, 46, Rodney Street, St Helens, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Monday 24 July where they pleaded guilty to robbery – They were both sentenced to nine years behind bars.

The incident took place on the evening of Saturday 11 February 2017 when Allen and Bennett, along with an unknown third accomplice, forced entry into a large detached farmhouse on the outskirts of Tarvin, near Chester.

Once inside the address the men, who were all disguised in balaclavas, threatened the occupants with weapons, causing serious injuries to one of the victims; they then when on to ransack the property, stealing a number of items, before fleeing the scene.

Following an extensive investigation by the team at Chester CID, both Allen and Bennett were identified as suspects and subsequently arrested.

Detective Constable Stephen Owens from Cheshire Constabulary said: "To be the victim of any violence is distressing enough, but to be the victim of masked armed assailants in your own home is even more traumatic.

“These men left their victims distraught and violated. Robbery has an immense effect on people with offenders targeting people in their own homes, a place where people should be able to feel safe and secure.

“While the victim has now recovered from the injuries that they sustained on that day, the mental trauma will not simply disappear; although I do hope the sentences handed to Allen and Bennett will help them move on with their lives.”

Detective Inspector Karen Jaundrill added: “This successful operation is a testament to the dedicated team of detectives and forensic staff working together to make sure those responsible were stopped in their tracks and put before the courts.

“As a result of the overwhelming evidence gathered by the team both Allen and Bennett were left with no option but to plead guilty to the crime, and now they will both face the consequences of their actions.

“We will continue to target those who think they can come into Cheshire to commit crime. Anyone who sees suspicious activity should contact police on 101 to help us to prevent crime and support us in continuing to bring offenders to justice.”