TWO members of a gang which attacked a man with a metal bar during a drive-by robbery in York have both been jailed for four years.

Several young people leapt out of a Ford Fiesta-type van as Oliver Wright was walking home along Stockton Lane in the early hours on March 31, Chris Smith, prosecuting, told York Crown Court.

Dean Maurice Barker, 22, asked Mr Wright if he remembered him. After Mr Wright replied that he did not recall Barker, Terence Freel, 19, demanded his mobile phone and wallet.

Then the gang set upon him.

A young woman hit him with a metal bar, Freel punched and kicked him as he lay on the ground and the robbers made off with his wallet and credit card. But they left his phone, which Mr Wright used to call police and the gang were stopped in the van shortly afterwards.

In the vehicle, police found a bloodstained car jack and some of Mr Wright's stolen property. Freel had blood on his hands and trainers.

Mr Smith said the prosecution did not accept Freel's claim that he did not demand Mr Wright's wallet and phone.

Barker, of Wigginton Road, York, and Freel, of Lilbourne Drive, Clifton, York, pleaded guilty to robbery.

Barker's girlfriend, Michelle Michaela Fining, 21, of Toby Court, Strensall, and two 17-year-old girls and a 14-year-old girl who cannot be named for legal reasons were also charged with robbery. The prosecution later dropped charges against the girls.

The men were jailed for four years each. Freel must also serve five months and nine days of a previous sentence, from which he was on parole at the time of the robbery.

Representing Freel, John Edwards said he had learning disabilities and fell into bad company after he left his residential school.

Mr Edwards said that led to Freel taking drugs and committing crimes to fund accommodation, food or drink. He had wanted to be a farmer.

For Barker, Chris Tehrani said he had been for a night out with Ms Fining. As they drove past Mr Wright, she thought she recognised him as a man she had a disagreement with and asked for the vehicle to be stopped so she could sort out the matter with him. Barker was remorseful for the robbery.

Mr Tehrani said Barker's legal team were not sure his plea was genuine because of possible events between the two co-accused in the court's cells, but Barker denied in court that he pleaded guilty under pressure.

Updated: 10:51 Monday, June 20, 2005