Two men have been jailed after an 88-year-old man was attacked in his home in Bolton.

The pair were sentenced today at Bolton Crown Court.

Tudor-Florentin Serbana, aged 36, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to assault with intent to commit robbery. He was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison.

He was also sentenced to another year in prison for an unconnected burglary on 22 May 2012 in the Haulgh area, so received nine and a half years prison sentence in total.

Grigore Tirban, aged 36, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to assault with intent to commit robbery. He was sentenced to five years and four months in prison.

At around 1.30pm on Sunday 27 May 2012, an 88-year-old man was at his home on Radcliffe Road when a man knocked at the door asking for directions to a specific address.

The elderly man obliged and pointed the caller in the right direction, after which he left.

At 11.45am on Tuesday 29 May 2012, the 88-year-old was at his house as he was having some decorating work done.

The decorator had to leave the house for a brief period of time and shortly after, there was a knock at the front door.

The elderly man answered the door and saw the same man stood there that had called a day earlier, asking for directions to the same place.

Another man then appeared at the door and the pair - Serbana and Tirban - pushed the victim back into his living room and onto the sofa, where they held him down and one of them put their hands over the man’s mouth to prevent him from shouting.

The elderly man fought with the two men as he tried to stop them from binding his ankles. As they were in the process of tying his wrists together, the decorator returned, realised what was happening and grabbed hold of the two men. However, after a struggle they managed to escape and ran out of the house.

The decorator ran after them and flagged down a passing car in the street.

He quickly relayed what had taken place and the driver then sped off in pursuit of the two fleeing men.

The driver followed the men to a back street off Radcliffe Road and then towards Bromwich Street, where they tried to hide in bushes.

With the help of two other members of the public, the man contained the area until police arrived and Tirban and Serbana were arrested.

Further investigation found that the two robbers had only arrived in the country 10 days earlier on 19 May 2012.

The 88-year-old victim suffered cuts and bruising to his lips, face and wrists.

Detective Constable Paul Quinn from Bolton’s Robbery Unit said: “What these two men did to this elderly man is simply despicable, with neither of them giving a second’s thought to the impact their actions could have on him.

“Thankfully though, they were disturbed and were not able to go through with the full extent of their plan, thanks to the brave actions of the decorator and the various other members of the public that came to this victim’s assistance.

“Today, Tirban and Serbana have rightfully been jailed for what they did. The members of the public that helped police catch these men should rightfully feel proud for their part in helping to put them away.

“I now hope the victim in this incident can begin to move on from the traumatic ordeal he was put through.”