A bare-chested cannabis dealer who brandished an axe as he confronted a Good Samaritan has been jailed together with his step-son, who fired-off the Taser that sent the man tumbling to the floor.

Matthew Brown, 32, and Liam Phillips, 20, were on bail or remanded under investigation at the time of the playing fields affray in June 2018.

Six months earlier police had raided the Stratton home they shared and found more than 150g of cannabis under the bath, £2,000 cash and £1,400-worth of stolen vaping supplies.

And in July this year, shortly after being released on licence from a sentence for driving a van at two teenagers, Phillips crashed a stolen motorcycle into a BMW – after cutting up cars and trying to pull wheelies on Cirencester Way.

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Matthew Brown (left) and his step-son, Liam Phillips Pictures: WILTSHIRE POLICE

Jailing Phillips for three years and eight months and banning him from the roads for three years upon his release, Judge Jason Taylor QC labelled of the youngster’s rap sheet of 31 offences “absolutely appalling”. He added: “You are a persistent and serial offender.”

Brown, who was given a three month sentence in May for “blowing” on a police officer after suggesting he had coronavirus, was handed a sentence of two years and four months.

Earlier, prosecutor Alec Small told Swindon Crown Court that Brown and Phillips’ Ruskin Avenue home was raided in January 2018.

It followed a break-in at the Lazy Frog vaping shop, Havelock Street, at the end of December. The shop owners issued an appeal on Facebook which led to a tip-off that a man, who later turned out to be Brown, was peddling the stolen items via social media. A test purchase organised by the shop owners gave police enough information to apply for a search warrant.

During the raid on January 5, police uncovered around £1,400-worth of the stolen vaping goods. Also found were phones pointing to the men dealing cannabis. More than 225g of the class B drug was discovered, including in vacuum-packed bags stashed beneath the family’s bathtub. Several sets of digital scales and cannabis grinders were seized.

Six months later, on June 22, both men were involved an attack on a Good Samaritan near Meadowcroft community centre, Stratton.

Earlier that day, the victim had been to the police station to hand in a mobile phone he’d found. He was walking across the recreation ground opposite the community centre when he saw a group of youths surrounding another youngster. He stepped in to try and calm things down.

Mr Small said Brown arrived on the scene in his van, together with Phillips and another boy. CCTV showed the older man, who was bare chested, getting an axe with a three foot handle from the back of his vehicle. The tool was brandished, but not used on the victim.

The group squared up to the Good Samaritan, who bravely said he had only become concerned when Phillips produced a Taser device. Mr Small said: “The victim, being quite closely surrounded, eventually decided he needed to run. He started to run and as soon as he had done so he was brought to the ground with quite some force. The Crown say that is because he was Tasered in the back.”

CCTV showed him lying face-down on the ground while the group, including Brown, aimed kicks at his body. The victim was out cold for an estimated two to four minutes. The aggressors were arrested at home by armed officers around 40 minutes later.

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One of the members of the group is arrested by armed police after the affray Picture: TWITTER

Last January, while on bail for the drugs, Phillips was jailed for more than two-and-a-half years for deliberately ramming two moped riders off the road in Dorcan in March 2018.

Within weeks of being released on licence this summer, he was back on Swindon’s roads. At around 4.30pm on August 2, he was behind the controls of a stolen orange motorcycle being ridden on false plates in Cirencester Way. Phillips, whose only protective clothing was a helmet, was seen swerving in the road, cutting up cars, almost running red lights and accelerating and decelerating.

He turned off Cricklade Road onto Headlands Grove, where he swerved before hitting a parked BMW head-on. Phillips’ helmet, which wasn’t secured properly, came off as he was catapulted over the handlebars. He tried to claim he was the pillion passenger on the motorcycle, which was leaking fuel over the road as the fuel cap had been forced open.

Brown, of Ruskin Avenue, Stratton, pleaded guilty at earlier hearings to being concerning in the supply of cannabis, handling stolen goods and affray.

Phillips, formerly of Filton Road, Bristol, but appearing before court from Bullingdon prison, admitted possession with intent to supply cannabis, dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified, driving without insurance and handling the stolen bike. He admitted the affray on Monday, the day his trial was meant to begin.

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Swindon Crown Court Picture: THOMAS KELSEY

Alistair Haggerty, for Brown, said his client’s life had unravelled after a head injury in 2015 that resulted in him turning to drink. He had been prosecuted for drink driving the following year, which led to him losing his successful landscape gardening business.

More recently, his life had taken a positive turn. He was now abstinent from alcohol and drugs and had found the assistance of probation useful.

Mr Haggerty had suggested his client’s attempt to kick the victim of the affray had been unsuccessful. That found short shrift with Judge Taylor who, after watching CCTV footage that showed Brown land the blow, shot back: “He’s not doing a dolly kick, is he?”

Laura Deuxberry, for Phillips, pleaded her client’s young age and immaturity. “This is a young man who from a young age has been in difficulties.”

Her client was 17 at the time of the raid, had only just turned 18 when he Tasered the victim in Meadowcroft and was not much older than another defendant who had been sentenced by magistrates in the youth court. An unimpressed Judge Taylor pointed out that the rules were different for over-18s: “To use a colloquialism, he’s a big boy now and the rules have changed.”

Ms Deuxberry said there had been delay in the case, with the authorities not charging the cannabis matters until more than two years after the raid. While in prison last year he had gained a number of qualifications.

He was father to a two-year-old girl and had not been able to see his daughter since being recalled on licence as the prisons were locked-down during the pandemic.

Sentencing Phillips for his third dangerous driving offence, Judge Taylor said of the crime: “This was flagrant disregard for the rules of the road and the safety of others and yourself. It was prolonged and persistent - and your record is appalling. You were on bail and licence at the time.”

The £2,000 cash was forfeit while the drugs were ordered to be destroyed.