HEARTLESS thugs who robbed a vulnerable friend in his own home after taking crack cocaine have been jailed.

Marie Ayres, of Berens Avenue, Bournemouth, and Kevin Saunders, of no fixed abode, turned on their 57-year-old victim after he told them to leave his house, attacking him with a hammer in order to steal just £270.

Four days later, Saunders, 28, gained entry to the same flat by pretending to be a police officer in an attempt to take more money.

The two denied robbery, forcing their victim – a friend Saunders had met at a homeless shelter – to relive his ordeal before a jury.

Saunders also admitted two charges of burglary and theft, both of which were committed against the same man.

Recorder Stephen Lennard said the two had visited the man’s home on December 9 last year in order to return cash Saunders had stolen from him previously.

“You accepted his hospitality and drank his cider, but then matters changed when the two of you started to use his flat to smoke crack cocaine,” he said.

“He asked you to leave – you were unwilling to do so. By that stage, it had come to your attention that he had a wallet containing money.

“You resolved to take it.”

He said the two then committed a “violent robbery”.

“Kevin Saunders hit him with a hammer on the shoulder, while Marie Ayres assisted by sitting on the man’s head when he was on the ground to allow his wallet to be taken,” he said.

“This is a vulnerable victim who has restricted mobility and is partially-sighted. It took place in his own home.”

The man suffered a fractured shoulder in the attack, although the judge accepted that neither of the defendants had taken the hammer to the property.

Just days later, the court heard, Saunders returned to the flat.

Stuart Ellacott, prosecuting, said: “He returned to the address and used the intercom and claimed to be the police.

“When he got to the door, his victim realised it wasn’t an officer, but he had been injured in the robbery and was not able to prevent Mr Saunders from pushing his way into the flat, where he stayed for a short while.”

After Saunders left, the victim realised more money had been taken from the house.

At Bournemouth Crown Court Mr Recorder Lennard sentenced Saunders to five years in prison.

Ayres received a three-year sentence.