TWO masked robbers who terrorised a family in a farmhouse near Chester have each been jailed for nine years.

Michael Allen, 53, of Windle Street, St Helens, and Mark Bennett, 46, of Rodney Street, St Helens, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Monday (July 24) where they pleaded guilty to robbery.

Joined by an unknown third accomplice, the duo forced entry into a large detached farmhouse on the outskirts of Tarvin on the evening of Saturday, February 11, this year.

Once inside the property the men, who were all wearing balaclavas, threatened the occupants with weapons and caused serious injuries to one of the victims.

They then went on to ransack the property and stole 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 were 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, having been targeted in their own 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 the victims 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 witnesses suspicious activity should contact police on 101 to help us to prevent crime and support us in continuing to bring offenders to justice.”