BOMBERS left a "trail of destruction" behind them after hurling a grenade into a car in a Bolton back street.

As they were sentenced to a total of more than 26 years behind bars today a judge told them they had shown a complete disregard for the danger they had put people in.

The explosion ripped through the interior of a BMW after Londoner Tom Omona smashed a window and hurled an improvised grenade inside.

The loud bang could be heard by alarmed neighbours in streets surrounding Back Castle Street and only minutes beforehand children had been playing in a garden next to the vehicle.

Omona and getaway driver Darren Holland had been recruited to carry out the attack on the car, belonging to Tiffany Stephens, travelling from their homes in Harrow, Middlesex, on July 23 last year to carry out the bombing.

At Bolton Crown Court Judge Graeme Smith told them: "Being prepared to use an explosive device with a capability unknown to you, represents a total disregard for the potential danger involved.

"You had no way of knowing whether there were people in their gardens or the extent of the damage which would be caused by the explosion."

Before arriving in Bolton, they stopped off in Rochdale where Luqman Hamid provided them with a stolen Mini and Qashqai to use in the crime and handed them a box, which contained the grenade.

After the explosion the pair set fire to the stolen vehicles in a bid to cover their tracks and Omona also torched other vehicles at a Rochdale garage before he and Holland headed back to London.

They were caught after an extensive police enquiry, with officers trawling through hours of CCTV footage.

Omona, aged 29, of Mary Close, Stanmore, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an explosion and conspiracy to commit arson. He will be deported from the UK once his sentence is completed.

Judge Smith told him: "You were the person directly responsible for the two attacks. You say that you did so on ‘the spur of the moment’, that you were offered money to do so, and that you decided to go ahead with the attacks because they were not the ‘harshest crime’.

"Recruiting a driver and then driving several hundred miles can hardly be described as ‘spur of the moment’, and your inability to accept the seriousness of the offences is a matter of real concern."

Holland, aged 54, of Grange Farm Close, Harrow, admitted conspiracy to commit arson. He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit an explosion following a trial which Judge Smith described as "an utterly hopeless attempt to distance yourself from everything that had happened".

Hamid, aged 32, of Yorkshire Street, Rochdale, pleaded guilty to three counts of assisting the commission of offences. He also admitted possession with intent to supply drugs and possessing more than £5,000 of criminal cash after £22,000 worth of cannabis was found when police raided his property in Halifax Road, Rochdale

At the sentencing hearing at Bolton Crown Court Vanessa Thomson, prosecuting, outlined how Omona, who has a lengthy criminal record for violence, began trying to recruit a driver to take him to the North West seven days before the bombing, eventually enlisting Holland.

After driving North in a borrowed Renault Clio they arrived in Rochdale, where they met Hamid.

Omona took a taxi to Torridon Road, Breightmet, while Holland drove a stolen Mini and picked up his accomplice.

They both headed for Back Castle Street, with Holland parking in nearby Dorset Street while Omona, dressed in black, got out to carry out the car attack.

A taxi driver parked nearby at 8.40pm saw Omona use a stone to smash a window and throw the grenade inside before running off.

The £12,000 vehicle was written off, with shards of shrapnel wrecking the interior in the explosion, which was heard by people living nearby

“Persons in the immediate vicinity would have been at risk of serious injury,” said Miss Thomson, prosecuting.

Omona and Holland drove back to Torridon Road where they set the Mini alight and transferred to a stolen Qashqui to head to Rochdale.

They finally drove back to London, arriving in the early hours of the following morning, but not before Omona set fire to vehicles at RAS Motors in Rochdale and also torched the Qashqui.

Mark Kimsey, defending Omona, said the defendant, who needed cash, had been recruited to carry out the attack, but did not know it involved a grenade until he arrived in the North West.

“He did what he did out of desperation” said Mr Kimsey. “He was asked to do it and he asked no questions.”

The court heard that the pair were so hard up that they could not even pay the toll fee on the motorway as they travelled North.

Paul Crampin, for heroin addict Holland, stressed that he had played a secondary role to Omona.

“It was not a professional job or something he would be in the habit of getting involved in,” he said.

Mohammed Nawaz, defending Hamid, said he was “deeply ashamed” but has now “turned a corner and wants to move on with his life”.

Sentencing, Judge Graeme Smith told Omona and Holland that when they returned to London, "you left a trail of destruction behind you... in what was clearly a carefully planned, choreographed and targeted operation.

"Who planned this and why, we do not know but all three of you played your part and all of you have tried to minimise your involvement."