A MAN who was watching television in his home was set-upon by a gang of thugs – one of whom was brandishing a knife.

Peter Howarth had been relaxing at home on November 9 when he heard a loud bang on the door and he was confronted by three men.

Before long he was surrounded by the group, who started punching and hitting him to the head, demanding that he give them money.

Prosecuting the case, Holly Nelson explained: “Mr Howarth immediately recognised Nathan Elsworth, who was carrying a knife. All three males started to surround him and punched him to the face and head with their fists.

“The males were shouting ‘where is the money’ and ‘give me the money’ – he said he didn’t have any money but saw that Elsworth took £55 that was next to him, his iPhone 6, a pouch of tobacco and his house keys.

“The males then went into the kitchen with Elsworth still brandishing the knife.”

The three men then left the property with Mr Howarth calling the police to report the incident. Elsworth, 31, was later arrested and interviewed, where he denied any involvement in the incident.

In a victim personal statement read to the court by Ms Nelson, the victim said he had known the defendant for several years and had ‘no idea’ why he had targeted him.

It read: “I have not really been affected by this incident however Nathan can not go around attacking people in their homes. I was shocked and scared when he forced his way into my home along with two other people and held a knife to me for no reason other than to obtain my property.

“I want Nathan to get what he deserves in court and go to prison and to understand he cannot go around attacking people and taking their things.”

During the same court hearing, Elsworth was also dealt with for possession of an imitation firearm during a separate incident in Oswaldtwistle.

Addressing him about the robbery, Judge Richard Gioserano said: “Your barrister is perhaps right to submit that you are fortunate that your victim did not suffer greater physical or psychological harm. It may well be he is made of strong stuff.

“This was a gang attack on this man in his home. It was pre-planned; you went armed with the knife as opposed to picking it up once you were in the house. His door was kicked in and he was not only threatened with the knife but he was punched repeatedly.

“Whilst you don’t have previous convictions for offences of robbery, you have previous convictions for serious offending including burglary and causing serious injury by dangerous driving. I’m afraid it seems to me that notwithstanding the imposition of two lengthy periods on custody you are still determined to commit serious criminal offences.

“You seem to have learned nothing from your time in custody.”

Elsworth, of Union Road, Oswaldtwistle, pleaded guilty to the offences at an earlier hearing and was jailed for a total of five years and three months.