A GANG of men armed with an axe, a hammer and metal bar, have been jailed after launching a "merciless" attack over a drug debt.

The three were all "tooled up" with weapons during the short, but brutal attack on their victim in his own home, a court heard.

In under a minute the gang had battered their victim leaving him with serious injuries to his arm and hand.

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Matthew Fender, pictured above, rounded up his friends, William Anderson, aka McKenzie, and Adam Rooks to recover the £1,000 drug debt.

The flurry of violence took place at about 6.30pm on August 9 last year, Teesside Crown Court heard.

A series of text messages were shared between Fender and the victim over the drug debt before the violence erupted as the man was sitting in his garden, awaiting his arrival.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said CCTV footage from the area showed the three men arrive at the victim's home in the Bankfields area of Middlesbrough before using the weapons to attack him.

She said: "He was hit on the back with the hammer and attempted to run into his house to escape them.

"He was struck on his left arm, which broke a metal plate which had been placed in his arm as a child.

"There was blood everywhere and in less than a minute they have left the property."

Miss Atkinson said a neighbour watched the violence unfold and told police that she saw the three men get out of the vehicle with weapons in their hands and heard threats of "we're going to kill you".

The court heard how one of the victim's attackers, Anderson, is his son's uncle.

In a statement the victim said he now needed his mother to help dress and bathe him, which was "degrading".

The victim said it is unclear whether he will ever regain full use of his hand despite having surgery to repair damage to his tendons.

All three pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of the axe, hammer and metal bar.

Christopher Baker, representing Fender, said the father-of-one was experiencing his first taste of custody after being remanded since August.

He said: "He is clearly a person with two sides to him, this was dreadful behaviour that he has involved himself on that day."

Nigel Soppitt, representing Anderson, pictured below, said his client would lose his business if jailed.

He said: "He knows he has thrown it all away in less than minute."

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And Andrew Turton, for Rooks, pictured below, added his client only went along with the intention to show support to a friend.

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Judge Paul Watson QC branded the violent attack "merciless" as the three men carried out their brutal assault on their 38-year-old victim.

He said: "You went round to his house, no doubt the agreement between you was to give him a bit of a fright, but you went tooled up with an axe, a hammer and a breaker bar.

"Maybe it wasn't your intention when you went to inflict injuries of the kind that you did on that day.

"The three of you, mob handed, set about him in a shortlived but particularly merciless attack which left him with serious injuries.

"This was a brutal attack on somebody in their own home which had a long-lasting affect on him."

Fender, 26, of Devon Road, Guisborough, was jailed for nine years and given a consecutive four month sentence for breaching a previously suspended sentence.

Anderson, 31, of Warwick Road, Guisborough, was sentenced to nine years for his part in the violence. He was given a further six month consecutive sentence for breaching a suspended sentence.

Rooks, 27, of Lewis Walk, Guisborough, was also jailed for nine years for taking part in the violent assault and was given an additional four-month sentence for breach of a suspended prison sentence.

All three were given two years concurrent sentences for the weapons charges.