Six men were involved in an altercation a judge said was “comparable to scenes from the Wild West” involving weapons and imitation firearms.

Danny Stafford, 33, David Stafford, 28, Paul Stafford, 30, Adrian Preston, 39, and Ashley Steele, 30, all appeared at Preston Crown Court relating to an incident on May 31, 2021.

A sixth man involved in the incident, Adam Pilkington, has since died from circumstances not involved with this case.

Prosecuting, Claire Brocklebank said there was a “violent confrontation” between two groups on the date in question in Rothesay Road, Blackburn.

Lancashire Telegraph: Adrian PrestonAdrian Preston (Image: Lancashire Police)

The first group, Preston and Pilkington, were in a black Volkswagen Golf driven by Preston, who had in his possession a silver imitation firearm.

In the second group, consisting of the Stafford brothers and Steele, the latter had a black imitation firearm and the others had various weapons.

A woman who worked in a nearby shop saw the Golf and said she saw Preston point a silver object at Paul Stafford, and then get out of the vehicle and approach him.

She went back inside the shop and locked the doors.

After Preston and Pilkington got back in their car and drove away, she saw David Stafford throw something towards the vehicle.

CCTV played in court showed the Golf arriving at the scene and a large group of people running towards it as it sped away.

Lancashire Telegraph: Ashley SteeleAshley Steele (Image: Lancashire Police)

Mobile phone footage played afterwards showed the same timeframe from a different angle, where Danny Stafford appeared to be holding a silver object, said by the prosecution to be a machete, though no items were recovered by police.

A second piece of mobile phone footage showed Steele stood on a grass verge pointing an imitation firearm, with Preston about to get out of the car.

It was also shown that Paul Stafford kicked Preston in the face, while Danny Stafford was seen pushing against the car in an effort to intimidate those inside.

During the incident, Pilkington received a stab wound, though the prosecution were unable to say who inflicted it.

There is no suggestion his death is anyway involved with this incident.

After the incident each of the defendants were interviewed. Paul Stafford denied having a knife, David Stafford, Danny Stafford, and Steele answered no comment, and Preston said he was attacked by others and had “gone to sort something out but not in a violent way”.

Each of the defendants has previous convictions ranging between two and 30.

Tom Lord, mitigating for Paul and David Stafford, said with their plea and the passage of time since the incident, there was a prospect of rehabilitation and a “good reason to avoid immediate custody.”

Graham Rishton, mitigating for Preston, said: “Following his first spell in prison his long-standing drug addiction began.

"That has gone hand in glove with the chaotic lifestyle and the offending reflected in that very poor record.

Lancashire Telegraph: Paul StaffordPaul Stafford (Image: Lancashire Police)

“He doesn’t want that life for himself anymore and that isn’t an empty statement. It’s a statement from him which is backed up by what he has achieved in the near two-and-a-half years since this offence was committed.”

Amanda Johnson, mitigating for Steele, said her client had not only demonstrated the capacity to change, but had achieved real change in the time since the offence having achieved qualifications in catering.

Paul Humphries, mitigating for Danny Stafford, said his client thought he was acting in self-defence and thereafter accepted his behaviour went too far.

He added it was of note that his client went out without a weapon and said the one in his hand was one he "disarmed from Preston when he was trapping him in the car door".

Mr Humphries added: “Trouble came to the Staffords rather than the Staffords going looking for trouble.”

Judge Simon Medland, sentencing, said: “I have to sentence you all for what was a substantial and prolonged episode of public disorder.

"It is not out of the way to describe what occurred as being comparable to scenes from the Wild West.

“The message must be understood clearly that the courts cannot simply stand by and facilitate behaviour of this kind.

“The regrettable fact in this case is we are now two years or more since the events occurred. You were charged in a reasonable period of time and since then, two years have gone by.

“As I have said to your counsel, I make a deduction to reflect that delay.

“Each one of you can lay claim to having made efforts to turn your lives around.

"Each of you can rely on good personal mitigation and it is all the more regrettable for people who have shown you can be productive and useful that I have to sentence you for offences of this seriousness.”

The sentences were as follows:

  • Adrian Preston, of Raven Road, Blackburn – two years and three months in prison
  • Ashley Steele, of Oban Drive, Blackburn – two years custody
  • Paul Stafford, of Ailsa Road, Blackburn – jailed for one year
  • David Stafford, of Arran Avenue, Blackburn - six months suspended for 18 months plus 150 hours of unpaid work
  • Danny Stafford, of Ballantrae Road, Blackburn – six months suspended for 18 months plus 150 hours of unpaid work