TWO balaclava-clad men robbed a mother-of-five in front of her young son.

Burnley Crown Court heard police launched a major operation, involving a helicopter, officers on the ground and dogs, believing the men to be armed.

They eventually found Fraser Donald Robertson and Oliver James Taylor hiding in a shed.

Prosecuting, Peter Docherty said victim Lisa Walmsley, who had been with her friend and son, had parked her van outside her home in Alexandra Close, Clayton-le-Moors at 7pm on May 9, last year.

Ms Walmsley got out of the vehicle, grabbed her handbag and put it over her shoulder.

Mr Docherty said: “No sooner had she done that than the two defendants came from an alleyway.

“These men were both wearing balaclavas. Understandably she was shocked and fearful.”

The court heard both defendants grabbed hold of the strap of the handbag and pulled it away from Ms Walmsley.

They then ran away with the bag, which contained an iPhone, £170 cash, a purse with £20 for her son’s birthday, keys, a passport and a driving licence.

Mr Docherty said Ms Walmsley raised the alarm and her friend Matthew Rivers and his brother Mark chased the defendants.

Mr Docherty said there was a large police response and in a bid to avoid detection Robertson and Taylor ran through people’s back gardens.

Robertson even told one a man whose garden he was running through “I don’t want to hurt you.”

A police dog named Rhyker tracked the defendants to the shed of a house which backs onto the Sparth Hotel.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Robertson, 25, of Mount St James, Blackburn, and Taylor, 29, of Ottershaw Gardens, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to robbery. Taylor also admitted breaching a suspended sentence he was given for burglary.

In her victim impact statement, Ms Walmsley said she found the robbery a terrifying incident, particularly because she knew she had a young child with her.

Defending Robertson, Hugh McKee said his client wanted to get out of prison to look after his young son.

Defending Taylor, Brendan O’Leary said his client had somewhat matured since committing this offence and was keen to be a father to his own young son.

Jailing both men for 36 months Judge Simon Medland QC said: “I am sure both of you simply want to get on with your own lives, bringing up your own children. This is a very serious offence. It terrified the victim who wants to move house.”