A ‘DANGEROUS’ heroin addict who tried to rob a McDonald’s with a hammer has been jailed.

Burnley Crown Court heard how 40-year-old John Carroll ambushed staff member Matthew Taylor as he tried to leave the Accrington store on February 6.

Carroll, who had his face covered during the attempted robbery, pushed Mr Taylor back towards the till with a hammer raised over his head.

Prosecuting, Stephen Parker said the raid was foiled by two have-a-go heroes, who had been repairing ducting at the restaurant.

They were Scott Ashton and Stuart Williams, who were praised for their “bravery” and “public spiritedness” by Judge Jonathan Gibson.

Mr Parker said: “Those men, having witnessed what was going on, got up from their seats and moved towards Mr Taylor and the defendant. Such was their presence the defendant ran from the premises.

“The two men chased the defendant out of McDonald’s . They apprehended him a short distance down the road. They managed to tackle him to the ground. They got the hammer from him. He was making threats towards the two of them saying ‘you will regret doing this. What’s it got to do with you?’.

“By coincidence a police patrol car happened to be passing. Those witnesses flagged down the officer.

“By this point the defendant was still making threats heard by the officer. He said ‘just watch what I’m going to do when I get up.’”

Mr Parker said the officer found the hammer nearby and Carroll admitted to having a Stanley knife in his hoodie pocket. Police also found a chisel down his trouser leg and a pillow case in his pocket – something Mr Parker said would have been used to carry money in if the robbery had been successful.

Mr Parker said such was the panic caused by the robbery that the store manager shouted to his staff to run, climbed onto to the roof and only came down when police arrived.

When Carroll, of Dowry Street, Accrington, was arrested he told officers: “This is what drugs make you do.”

Carroll, who has 27 previous convictions for 51 offences, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery, possession of a bladed article and possession of an offensive weapon.

Defending Robert Wyn Jones said Carroll’s offending stemmed from his long-term addiction to heroin.

He said: “Heroin has gripped his life since he was a teenager. He has not been able to get rid of it.”

Carroll was jailed for four years and given a two-year extended licence period.

Judge Gibson said Mr Taylor had been shocked and afraid that Carroll would hurt him and that he is now paranoid about going into work.

He added: “There is clearly an expression of remorse in your letter. You recognise you need proper intervention for your drug addiction which is long-standing and persistent.”