FOUR men have been jailed for a total of 33 years for a violent burglary in Loughton

A group of men armed with knives and pepper spray forced their way into an address in Queens Road shortly before 6.25am on July 21 last year.

They had tried to get in through an open window and when an occupant in the address tried to stop them, he was sprayed with pepper spray.

Hearing the commotion, another person inside the address went outside to try and get the group to leave but was chased and assaulted.

Witnesses saw the men leaving the area, running towards a dark grey Audi parked nearby and making off in it. CCTV footage shows the group arriving and leaving in the car.

Shortly before 9am the vehicle was stopped between junctions 15 and 16 on the M6 motorway. During a search of the vehicle a kitchen knife was found in the boot, and a lock knife underneath a rear passenger seat.

Mohammed Fathi, 22, Bailey Ruscoe, 21, Peter Clegg, 20, and Kai Hurst, also 20, were in the vehicle and later arrested.

 Kai Hurst, 20 and Mohammed Fathi, 22Kai Hurst, 20 and Mohammed Fathi, 22 (Image: Essex Police)

Bailey Ruscoe, 21 and Peter Clegg, 20Bailey Ruscoe, 21 and Peter Clegg, 20 (Image: Essex Police)

The clothing Hurst, Ruscoe and Fathi were wearing when they were arrested was consistent with that of the suspects seen on CCTV. Fingerprints of Hurst, Ruscoe, and Fathi were also found at the scene.

Fathi, of Meltham Avenue, Manchester, Ruscoe, of Elliston Square, Manchester, Clegg, of Wrenbury Crescent, Stockport, and Hurst, of Pickmere Road Wilmslow, were all charged with aggravated burglary, affray, aggravated burglary with intent and possessing a knife or bladed article in a public place.

They denied the charges but on March 28, following a three-week trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, they were all convicted of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary.

They were sentenced at the same court on June 21.

Hurst and Fathi were each sentenced to nine years in prison, while Ruscoe and Clegg were each given seven and-a-half years.

Investigating officer Det Con Alexander Cove, from Loughton CID, said: "Kai Hurst, Mohammed Fathi, Bailey Ruscoe and Peter Clegg all conspired together to break into a family home and attack the people inside.

"These four men had travelled to Loughton while armed, with the intent of getting into an address and using violence to do so.

"They carried out a frightening attack, which could have led to the victims being seriously injured.

"No one should be left fearing for their safety in their own homes and I'm glad we've been able to bring this group to justice.

“I also want to thank  our colleagues in West Midlands Police and Staffordshire Police for their assistance and their role in putting them behind bars.”