Couple terrified by knifemen during raid on flat in Hinckley
A couple were terrified when armed burglars burst into their home.
The three raiders kicked in the door of their flat, wielding two knives and a screwdriver, Leicester Crown Court heard.
The victims, in their 20s, were watching television in their lounge and "froze" in shock.
The robbers shouted: "Where's all your money, all your stuff? Where's the weed (cannabis)?"
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Adrian Harris, prosecuting, said the burglars "ransacked" the flat in Furness Road, Hinckley.
The male occupant was punched in the face and knives were held at his neck.
His girlfriend was screaming hysterically, fearing he was going to be killed, said Mr Harris.
A burglar threatened to tie her up with duct tape if she did not "shut up".
Two of the men had cloths masking their faces and one was wearing a balaclava.
One, Jacob Costello ( 20), of Carrick Point, Evington, Leicester, was sentenced to six years and eight months detention yesterday.
He admitted aggravated burglary, when £360 in cash, a PlayStation console and four metre-tall cannabis plants were stolen, on July 19 last year.
He also admitted handling a stolen Peugeot car, stolen by someone else in a separate incident.
Mr Harris said the female victim fled from the flat, escaping through a hole the men had kicked in the front door.
A neighbour saw the men making off in the Peugeot and noted the registration.
Judge Simon Hammond commended the man for his actions.
The car later activated a vehicle recognition camera in South Wigston, which led to Costello being pursued and caught.
Passenger Fabian Lefournour, who had just accepted a lift in the Peugeot, ran off and was chased into Willow Park, in Aylestone Lane, Wigston.
He was found to have dropped a machete – which he said he had found in the car and, realising it had his fingerprints on, took with him.
Lefournour (21) of Maromme Square, Wigston, was jailed for a year after admitting allowing himself to be carried in a car taken without consent and possessing a knife in a public place.
Both defendants admitted possessing a small amount of cannabis.
Mr Harris said there were cannabis leaves in the vehicle, but no sign of the plants or other stolen items from the flat.
Sentencing, Judge Hammond said the aggravated burglary was a "wicked offence". He said: "It was a planned robbery using disguises and the flat was completely ransacked."
He said the fact the victims were growing cannabis made "no difference" to Costello's sentence.
Piers Wauchope, mitigating for Costello, said he was remorseful and had written a letter to the female victim, who had located him on Facebook after his arrest and vented her anger via messages to which he had not responded.
Mr Wauchope said: "It was a flat of known distributors of cannabis and was stealing from dealers."
Mr Harris said the prosecution did not accept Mr Wauchope's assertions about drug dealing.
Olwen Davies, for Lefournour, said he was not involved in the raid on the flat and panicked when the police followed the car he had accepted a lift in.
Lefournour was ordered to pay £150 costs.
The other burglars have not been caught.