A THIEF who stormed into a cricket club armed with a crowbar has been jailed for more than 13 years.

Manchester Crown Court heard Liam Worthington entered Haslingden Cricket Club waving a crow bar and shouted at staff and customers to get down on the floor.

The 30-year-old, of Marleyer Close, Moston, then dragged a woman by her hair to the safe before helping himself to a large amount of money.

Speaking after the case the president of the Private Lane club said the thug 'deserved' the lengthy prison sentence he had received for the' horrible' incident he put the members through.

The court heard this was just one of nine violent robberies the thug had carried out between October 2016 and February 2017.

He specifically targeted golf and cricket clubs across North Manchester and Lancashire, the prosecution said.

He was jailed for 13 years and six months for burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary on a business.

In the first burglary on October 9, 2016, the court heard a husband and wife were cleaning up after a 50th celebration at Walmsley Golf Club, when Worthington broke in.

The prosecutor said he took a watch from the man’s wrist and tore a gold necklace from his wife’s neck, before stealing cash and a gold medal.

Then on January 8, Worthington entered Haslingden Cricket Club.

A week later on January 15, the court was told Worthington attacked a cleaner with a pool cue as he burgled Chadderton Cricket and Bowling Club.

He grabbed the woman by the neck and forced her to take him to the safe, before hitting her repeatedly with a pool cue.

Patrick Lord, Haslingden Cricket Club president, said: “The man has now been brought to justice.

“What he did to the club was absolutely terrible and he deserves everything he gets.

“It was such a horrible event for everyone involved to go through.

“These sorts of crimes cannot go unpunished because they cause so much pain and horror to so many people.

“He has done this in several places.”

Speaking after the case, DC Mark Ellis, said: “In the nine burglaries, Worthington stole over £21,000 in cash, a gold medal and jewellery which he ripped from his victims, as he burgled these sports and social clubs.

“It is going to take a long time for the victims to recover from the damage left by Worthington’s violent string of burglaries.

“These sports and social clubs were clearly targeted, with Worthington using everything from a steak knife to a spanner in his mission to steal from, and terrorise, these local businesses.

“Worthington acted in the knowledge that violence and weapons could be used in this spree of offences, but in his arrogance, left behind a wealth of evidence.

“I hope the sentence goes some way to bring justice to the staff and customers that were caught up in Worthington’s senseless burglaries.”

Haslingden MP, Graham Jones, said: “People like this deserve to be locked up for a very long time.

“I’m glad he got 13 years however if I was the judge he would have got a longer sentence.

“It’s important what we do with these people, it’s important how we treat criminals to stop them becoming reoffenders.

“Some of these people from criminal backgrounds have no respect for the people they are hurting.”