AN Over Alderley man was threatened with a machete and a gun during a terrifying robbery at his home, a Crown Court was told.

The court heard the 25-year-old was asleep in bed in the middle of the night when he heard men coming up the stairs.

When he opened his eyes he saw one of the men holding a machete to his cheek and another holding a gun to his head.

Three men were sentenced for the robbery and other offences at Chester Crown Court on Friday.

Joseph Grima of Water Street, Macclesfield, received a life sentence for the robbery and possessing an imitation firearm.

Knutsford Guardian:

Lee Spindler

He will serve a minimum of 10 years after being found guilty of robbery, possessing an imitation firearm and witness intimidation.

He also pleaded guilty to additional offences of escaping custody and possessing mobile phones in prison.

Lee Spindler, 26, of no fixed address, was sentenced to nine years and eight months after pleading guilty to possessing an imitation firearm and robbery.

Jamie Sheffield, 33, of Eldon Place, Eccles, was sentenced to 12 years and nine months after pleading guilty to possessing an imitation firearm and robbery.

On the evening of January 10, 2018 the victim was asleep when he heard Spindler, Sheffield and Grima coming up the stairs.

When he opened his eyes he saw one of them holding a large machete onto his cheek and another man holding a gun to his head.

The men shouted ‘where are the guns?’ while holding the gun to his face – the court heard it was unclear if the gun was real or an imitation.

The men tied up the victim and searched the house before leaving with two shotguns and two rifles, as well as stealing a cannabis plant, collector’s coins and a mobile phone.

After the men left in two vehicles in the early hours of January 11 the owner alerted police.

Knutsford Guardian:

Jamie Sheffield

Police quickly identified one of the getaway vehicles, and at 5am on January 11 it was seen by officers who followed it out of the Macclesfield area before stopping it in Salford.

Armed officers arrested Spindler, but Sheffield fled and was later arrested at a house nearby.

Officers found the shotguns on Turf Lane, with Grima’s DNA discovered on the stolen weapons and a bin bag into which the guns were placed.

Grima was arrested on January 25, 2018 at his home and his mobile phone was seized by police. His phone proved to be important evidence in proving he was involved in the robbery.

Det Sgt Simon Mills said: “These men broke into the victim’s house in the middle of the night with the intention of terrifying him.

“They held weapons to his face and subjected him to threats which left him no choice but to give into their demands.

“Throughout the incident the victim was left in fear of what the gang would do to him, to the point he feared if he would survive.

“This was a pre-planned robbery using a handgun, machetes and knives, and was intended to instil the utmost fear in the victim or anybody who got in their way.

“Grima tried to prevent his trial going ahead by threatening prosecution witnesses and has seen justice served. He is a dangerous individual, who has previous convictions for like offences and fully deserves his lengthy time in prison.”