A YOUNG man from Oldham - who played a part in a Greater Manchester robberies gang - has been jailed for three years.

Ryan Lavelle, along with Casey Tighe and Zeyn Badat, then 17, followed two men as they went into a shop in the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester, the city's crown court was told.

Prosecutors say the two men were threatened by the group before Badat grabbed one of the victim's hat.

Tighe then hit him in the back of his head. The man fell forwards and was pushed further by Badat, causing him to fall to the floor.

The other victim was then punched by Lavelle before being forced to the floor and sat on by him.

One of the men was then repeatedly punched and kicked in the head by the group before they are pulled away from the victim by nearby shoppers and staff.

The group made away with both the victims hats and mobile phones, and left them with facial injuries.

An investigation revealed Lavelle was also involved in a group attack on a 13-year-old and 14-year-old at Droylsden tram stop in May 2019, which saw a bike taken.

Lavelle, of Belgrave Road, Oldham, pleaded guilty to robbery and an affray charge.

Tighe and another man Nathan Jones-Lowe, 19, were involved in a number of other robberies, the court heard.

One saw Tighe pick on a 16-year-old boy on Market Street, in Manchester city centre, who was out with two friends.

He approached the victim and threatened him while searching his pockets for valuables. The victim was separated from his friends as Tighe pulled him around the corner where they were joined by Jones-Lowe and some other men.

Police say the victim was punched and kicked before they fled with his wallet.

Another occasion saw Tighe and Jones-Lowe set upon a 21-year-old in Portland Street, also in the city centre.

Tighe demanded his wallet before the victim was surrounded by others and punched in the face. His phone and wallet were snatched before his muggers escaped.

Later that evening, a 31-year-old man was walking along High Street when he was approached by Tighe and others.

His rucksack was pulled before he was punched to the side of his head, causing him to the fall to the ground. The victim was then set upon by the group and punched and kicked multiple times before his bag was stolen. The victim was left with a fractured eye socket.

Tighe, of Morecambe Close, Manchester, who had confessed to four robberies, an affray and a theft, was jailed for three years and four months. Jones-Lowe, 19, of Albert Street Manchester, was sentenced to two years and two months in jail for three robberies. Badat, of Cooper Street, Bury, was given a 24-month community order for robbery and attempted robbery.

All four were jailed as a result of Operation Valiant, a crackdown on robberies in Manchester city centre and across the region.

Speaking after the case, Supt Chris Hill of GMP's City of Manchester Division said: "I hope today's sentencing goes out as a warning that GMP will absolutely not tolerate this type of behaviour in our communities."

Det Con Leon Cawley-Bowyer, of the Valiant team, added: "This group targeted, intimidated and attacked innocent members of the public in a particularly violent and unprovoked manner. No-one should be made to feel unsafe or anxious when walking through the streets of Greater Manchester."