A householder was bound, threatened and had a blanket put over his head when he returned home to find burglars in his home.
A householder was bound, threatened and had a blanket put over his head when he returned home to find burglars in his house.
Stephen Whyborn has been jailed for eight years for his part in the terrifying ordeal at a house in the Deepdale area of the city.
Whyborn, 31, and at least one other man went to the house with the intention of stealing money or drugs they believed to be at the property.
But when the householder returned, the men, who were wearing balaclavas, ordered him to the floor and bound his hands with plastic ties they found in the house.
They then punched him and covered his head, threatening to stab him.
The men gathered items from the house, including cannabis plants, which were growing in a bedroom.
Recorder Mukhtar Hussain, sentencing, said: “The fact that the complainant may have been committing a criminal offence by growing these cannabis plants is not a matter which you can use in mitigation.
“The law has to protect everyone.”
The court heard Whyborn, of Chatsworth Street, Preston, is a “hard working, dedicated father and partner”.
But Recorder Hussain told him: “The experience must have been terrifying.
“Money was demanded. He clearly stated there was no money he had or in the house.
“You or the others then started to stack what you could.
“I have looked at the photos. There wasn’t going to be just the plants but other stuff that was brought into the kitchen.”
Whyborn denied being involved, saying he had been called after the raid to give the men a lift.
However, a jury convicted him of robbery, false imprisonment and aggravated burglary.
Whyborn asked to speak and said: “I want to thank you for taking everything into account and being as civil as possible.”