A JUDGE branded three teenage thugs who went on the rampage in Bury town centre as “feral youths” — then locked them up for a total of more than 11 years.

Kyle Williams, 18, Adam Kelly 18, and Kevin Jones, 17, kicked and stamped on the head of Stuart McLaren during a random attack in a darkened subway on November 25 last year.

The attack, which left Mr McLaren with a four-inch gash on his forehead and a footprint across his face, was the culmination of a day of violence fuelled by drink and cannabis, Bolton Crown Court heard. It was the third attack carried out by the gang that day; they had previously tried to rob a teenager and randomly punched and kicked a second innocent member of the public.

Recorder Robert Crawford said: “There is talk of feral youths misbehaving in our towns and cities. The three of you were on drink and, I am told, drugs when without provocation and in a cowardly, brutal fashion, you thuggishly attacked these three individuals in Bury. It must have been terrifying for all three of them.”

David Bruce, prosecuting, told the court that Williams, Kelly, and Jones were in Bury town centre from around 12.30pm and were drinking and smoking cannabis. They met a fellow teenager called Mark Buchanan and Williams, of Wilson Street, Bury, asked him if he had any money.

He said no and started to walk away but the gang followed him and Williams told him to empty his pockets before Jones, of Manchester Road, Bury, punched him in the face.

Kelly, also of Manchester Road, Bury, then told Jones to take his mobile phone, but the victim managed to escape before they could steal it.

Mr Bruce said the youths carried on drinking and smoking before striking again at 7pm, this time targeting Tobias Murphy who was walking down a subway to Bury Market.

One of the gang punched Mr Murphy in the face. The victim heard footsteps and fell to the ground where he was kicked in the back. He managed to escape the gang and ran, bleeding from the face, to a nearby gym for help. A short time later the gang struck for the third and final time, attacking Mr McLaren, who was on his way to the supermarket, in the same subway.

Mr Bruce said: “He was grabbed by the arm and thrown to the ground. As he tried to get to his feet he was kicked. He fell to the ground again and was kicked in the face and someone stamped on the left side of his head. He felt more kicks to his lower back and then lost consciousness.”

The court heard he suffered a large wound to the forehead and also had a footprint left on his face. The four inch gash required nine staples and he was kept in hospital for two days.

Jones was described as easily led by his defence team, while Williams was said to be a vulnerable young man. Kelly was remorseful, it was said in mitigation.

All three defendants pleaded guilty to two counts of assault and one count of attempted robbery.

Both Kelly, and Williams were sentenced to four years in a Young Offenders’ Institution while Jones was sentenced to three years and nine months in a Young Offenders Institution.