Three Merseyside men who threatened a Frodsham family with a sawn-off shotgun have been jailed for a total of more than 27 years.
Declan Kilbride, Thomas Dean and Rhys Allen have all been convicted of aggravated burglary and two counts of possession of a firearm.
The charges relate to a terrifying ordeal that took place at 10pm on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, when three men forced entry into a family home in the Fairways area of Frodsham while a fourth man acted as lookout nearby.
On entering the property, the men threatened the victims with a sawn-off shotgun and a knife, demanding they hand over keys to their car.
The men fled the scene and got into a getaway vehicle waiting nearby.
The victims – a husband and wife and their two young children – immediately reported the incident to Cheshire Police , who swiftly deployed officers to the area.
Just 17 minutes later officers became aware of a white Audi A4 being driven erratically on the nearby Bridgewater Expressway in Runcorn. They followed the vehicle as it travelled at speeds of up to 100mph, dangerously weaving in and out of traffic.
The Audi eventually came to a stop on Blackheath Lane, Runcorn, after colliding with a number of stationary vehicles. All of the offenders then got out of the vehicle and fled into a nearby wooded area.
Officers flooded the scene and both Kilbride, 23, and Dean, 27, were arrested nearby.
Allen, 23, was arrested on Tuesday, September 5, after officers discovered evidence which linked him to the incident.
The trio were subsequently charged with aggravated burglary and two counts of possession of a firearm.
Dean, of Sedgemore Road, Liverpool, and Allen, of Stanley Park Avenue South, Liverpool, both pleaded guilty to the charges, while Kilbride, of Anfield Road, Liverpool, was found guilty following a trial which concluded on Friday February 1, 2018.
On Friday 23 March the trio appeared at Chester Crown Court , where Kilbride was sentenced to 12 years in prison plus three years on extended licence, Allen was handed an eight-year prison sentence plus three years on licence and Dean was jailed for seven years and six months with the addition of three years on licence.
Enquiries are ongoing in relation to a fourth man, who acted as look-out.
Following sentencing, Detective Constable Andrea Ellis said: “Burglary is an appalling crime which targets people in their own homes, the one place that they should always be able to feel safe.
“In this case the victims had been settling down for the night with their two young children when they were both verbally and physically attacked by this despicable group.
“While they did not suffer any physical injuries, they were left extremely shaken and they will never be able to forget what happened on that night.
“However, I hope that the sentences handed to Kilbride, Dean and Allen will provide them with some closure and allow them to move forward with their lives.”
Detective Sergeant Simon Owen added: “This has been an extremely complex case and I would like to pay tribute to all the officers and staff who have been involved in the investigation; both those who assisted on the night and those who pieced together all the evidence against the defendants.
“As a result of their dedication and commitment Kilbride, Dean and Allen have all been handed significant prison sentences and are facing the consequences of their actions.”