MEN who armed themselves with a machete, hammer and baseball bats to battle each other in the middle of a busy residential road have been jailed for a total of more than eight years.

Wesley Burbidge and Craig Hollinrake were each sentenced to two years and two months in prison after being found guilty of violent disorder and possessing weapons.

Stuart Brough was jailed for the same period after pleading guilty to the same charges part way through the trial.

Dovovan Holmes, who admitted the charges prior to the trial, was jailed for 25 months and his brother, former soldier Nathan Holmes, was found guilty of violent disorder and sentenced to 22 months in prison, suspended for two years. He must also undertake 240 hours of unpaid work, participate in 20 days of rehabilitation activities and pay £1,800 towards prosecution costs.

The court had heard how, on May 15 last year Burbridge, Brough and Hollinrake, travelling in an Audi, clashed in the middle of a road with the Holmes brothers, who were in a Mini.

Sentencing them, Judge Graeme Smith told them: “Residents and passers by in Laburnum Road in Farnworth were shocked and frightened by a serious outbreak of violence.

“The exact cause that led up to this event is known only to the five involved, although there was clearly a previous disagreement between Stuart Brough and Donovan Holmes.

“It is impossible to know whether it [the violence] was pre-planned and, if so, to what extent or some form of chance encounter.

“What is clear is that everyone involved, except Nathan Holmes, were armed and ready for a confrontation.”

The jury had heard how the Holmes brothers smashed the rear and side windows of the Audi, which headed off towards Highfield Road and returned, deliberately smashing into the back of the Mini.

Brough, with a machete, Burbidge holding a a hammer and Hollinrake, armed with a baseball bat, and all three wearing latex gloves, got out of the Audi and the men began brawling in the street.

During the trial Burbidge, aged 41, of Tig Fold Road, Farnworth, and Hollinrake, aged 45, of Pole Street, Bolton, said they had been acting in self-defence, but Judge Smith described their claims as “ridiculous”. “The fact that they had weapons and were wearing gloves made it quite clear they were ready for and willing to participate in violence,” said Judge Smith.

“Fortunately, no one else, other than the five defendants were involved or injured in any way and there was no damage to anyone else’s property.”

The court heard that Brough, aged 42, of George Street, Farnworth, has 20 previous convictions, including some for violence and robbery.

Jane Dagnall, defending, said he had carried weapons in the Audi he was driving because he believed his family was in danger and only intended to use them to threaten with.

“His particular problem came about when he really saw red when his windows were put through by his co-accused and that is when he lost all sense of reason and proportion and acted as he did,” she said.

Colin Buckle, defending Burbidge, stressed that he has no offences of violence recorded in his previous convictions and the brawl was out of character.

“At this period of his life a custodial sentence is disastrous for him,” he said.

Andrew Smith, for Hollinrake, said he would find prison particularly difficult as he will have to be segregated due to his previous conviction for conspiracy to murder. In 1998 Hollinrake was jailed for 16 years for his involvement in the conspiracy which led to the death of five-year-old Dillon Hull.

“He recognises that his history follows him around,” said Mr Smith.

Kevin Liston, for Donovan Holmes, aged 30, of Harper Fold Road, Farnworth, said that he had been subject to threats and so had the weapons in his car.

He added that his decision to get out of his car and approach the Audi was “ill thought out”.

He stressed that Holmes runs a successful business, which employs four people and will be adversely affected by his jail sentence.

Mark Friend, defending Nathan Holmes, aged 27, of Highfield Road, Farnworth, said: “He is a decent, ordinarily law abiding member of the public. He was a man who provided military service for some years. That was distinguished service and the defendant’s return to civilian life has not been without its issues.”