A QUALIFIED lifeguard who was part of a masked machete gang which tried to rob a businessman in his own home has been jailed for six years.

Dwayne Andrews, 23, and three accomplices turned up at the Thorburn Drive, Whitworth, home of Neil Martin, in January last year, believing their intended target had cash, or jewellery.

Mr Martin, whose wife and two teenage daughters were in the house, had the machete, which had a 10-inch blade, held to his neck by one of the four and was chillingly threatened: “Give me the money, or give me the gold. I will slit your throat.”

Burnley Crown Court had been told how Andrews had started to abuse steroids while working in the fitness industry and was said to have had a personality change.

He had been expecting a reward for taking part in the raid attempt, but the group left empty-handed after they found out the children were in the house, and no actual violence was used.

Andrews, of Windsor Avenue, Newchurch, admitted attempted robbery.

Sentencing, Recorder Dennis Watson QC told him: “It’s hard to imagine a more terrifying situation at 3.20pm on a Tuesday in January.”

The court had been told how three of the gang, including Andrews, were wearing balaclavas and the machete was waved around by one of the men. The defendant’s three associates have not yet been arrested.

Louise Whaites, for Andrews, said the robbery idea was someone’s else’s, it was suggested he ought to become involved, pressure was put on him and he agreed. He was then 21.

She said: “He thought he was there as a tall young man, who could add a bit of weight.

“It’s clear he is very remorseful. He is deeply ashamed of his actions on that day and of the potential consequences for the occupants of that address.”