A RAPIST who sexually assaulted two women after night outs in East Lancashire has been warned he faces a significant spell in prison.

Burnley Crown Court heard 28-year-old Thomas Nichols raped one of the women as she slept and a second after luring her back to his shed.

Prosecutor Anya Horwood told the court how Nichols had initially invited his first victim and her friend to a non-existent party in his shed. All three then went back to the victim's house, and after falling asleep on the sofa she awoke to find her trousers had been removed and Nichols was raping her.

The jury was told Nichols had been told by the victim she had a boyfriend and had no sexual interest in the defendant.

Police linked Nichols to DNA found on the victim's underwear but when arrested he told police the sex had been consensual.

The court heard Nichols met his second victim at the ibar in Accrington. After luring her back to his shed Nichols, of Belfield Road, Accrington, raped her. When Nichols was arrested he claimed sex had been consensual.

A jury took just under four hours to unanimously find him guilty of two offences of rape.

Judge Sara Dodd adjourned sentencing until December 11 for the probation service to prepare a report on Nichols' dangerousness.

She said: “Mr Nichols you have been, rightly in my judgement, convicted by the jury of two very serious matters. I will deal with your sentence on December 11 when the probation service have come to see you and prepared a report on you. You must understand whatever form that sentence takes it will be a significant custodial sentence. In the meantime you are remanded into custody. You are also subject to an interim notification requirement.”