TWO men have been jailed for their part in a violent mob attack which left two men fighting for their lives.

Kenneth Burton and Jonathan Grimes were part of gang of men armed with an axe, baseball bats and a machete who chased and attacked the victims before beating and stabbing them.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the two victims were airlifted to hospital for treatment following the outbreak of violence near to a convenience store on Vulcan Way, Thornaby, in October last year.

CCTV footage showed the Burton stamping on head and body of one of the victims before leaving the scene when other people turned up armed with weapons.

Grimes was captured in footage showing him wearing a balaclava and carrying an axe.

Mitigating for Burton, of Lunebeck Walk, Robert Mochrie said the CCTV showed his client was not armed at any point.

The court heard that Grimes, of Vulcan Way, fully accepted his role in the violence and said after watching the CCTV he said 'he didn't recognise the man in the footage'.

Both men pleaded guilty to affray and Grimes pleaded guilty to two charges of possession of offensive weapons.

Judge Sean Morris lambasted the Crown Prosecution Service for bringing lower charges against the pair limiting his ability to hand out longer sentences.

"It's charged as affray but it is undercharged," he said. "It is the worst affray I have had to deal with and I have dealt with hundreds and hundreds affrays in my time."

Burton, who was recalled on licence for wounding and possession of an offensive weapon and will remain in jail until 2021, was sentenced to two years and eight months to run at the same time.

Addressing Grimes, the judge said: "You took part in an absolutely dreadful piece of public disorder, it is such a bad case of affray that I'm going to pass the maximum sentence available.

He was sentenced to two years and eight months, following a reduction for an early guilty plea, and two concurrent five month sentences for possession of offensive weapons, which will run consecutively.

Speaking after the hearing Detective Sergeant Amy Campbell, from Stockton Operational Crime Team, said: “I am pleased with the sentences handed to Burton and Grimes.

"Whilst incidents of this nature are rare, today’s result sends out a clear message that anyone who gets involved in this type of behaviour will be caught and they will be put before the courts wherever possible.”