AN Old Trafford teenager and his accomplice committed three attempted knifepoint robberies in the space of just a few hours have been sentenced.

Marcus Williams, 18, of Seymour Grove, pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted robbery.

The 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to two counts attempted robbery.

Williams was sentenced to a two year detention training order and the 14-year-old boy was sentenced to a two year youth rehabilitation order and a two year supervision order at Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square, on July 28.

At around 11.50pm onFebruary 21 2014, a man was driving his two friends home from the Claremont pub in Moss Side and pulled up on Broadfield Road, close to the junction with Edith Avenue.

A few seconds later, the driver’s door was ripped open and the two teenagers demanded the keys to the car.

One appeared to be carrying a knife.

One of the boys tried to forcibly drag the driver from the car but the victim’s friend intervened and the two would-be thieves ran off.

At about roughly the same time that evening, a taxi driver was dropping off a passenger on Parkside Road, in Moss Side, when one of the same two offenders reached into the driver’s side of the car and grabbed the driver by the back of the head.

Startled, he turned around to see the offender brandishing a 12-inch-long knife with a serrated edge.

He pushed this knife into the driver’s face, cutting his right cheek below the eye, before demanding cash.

However, as the engine was still on the driver managed to drive away without suffering any further injury and he immediately called police.

As he looked in his rear view mirror, he saw another taxi pull up behind him and the same two offenders ripped open the passenger door to this second taxi.

The driver of the second taxi was also threatened with the knife, which was held to his throat as the offender again demanded cash.

The victim was able to seize his chance to escape when the knifeman appeared to slip, removing the keys from the ignition and fleeing.

As he turned back, he saw the two men ripping the wires connecting the taxi radio to the car before they fled.

A police patrol responded immediately and the two were pursued on foot.

The 14-year-old boy was found hiding behind a garden shed on Lloyd Street South and the older boy caught fleeing in the alleyways nearby.

The knife used in the attempted robberies was also found discarded in an alleyway.

Detective Constable Ian McNabb said: "If you take the boys' ages out of the equation, what you are left with is three very frightening robberies during which three different men have all been threatened at knifepoint.

"One suffered a minor cut and, given the violent threats these boys made including pushing the weapon to the men’s faces, the injuries could quite easily have been far more severe.

"Thankfully, the responding officers were swiftly on the scene and arrested these two boys before they could target anyone else.

"It is clearly both disturbing and upsetting that such young boys would resort to such violent actions. I also have no doubt many people will be shocked to hear that someone as young as 14 could be capable of such violence.

"Greater Manchester Police does a lot of work both within local schools and through partnerships based in the local community to discourage young people away from a life of criminality, to stop them falling into gangs and channel their energies into positive projects. We have had a lot of success in this area and the vast majority of young people living in this area are good, honest youngsters who would never dream of doing something like this.

"In saying that, whenever you pick up a knife and use it to threaten someone, you cease to be just a teenager and become a criminal with the capacity to seriously injure, maim or commit even more serious harm on someone. As a Force, we will not allow such behaviour, regardless of age, to go unpunished and I hope these sentences send out a message to anyone that age is no barrier to a prison sentence so think twice before you pick up a knife."