A LODGER was threatened with what he thought was a nine-inch metal bar but what was, in fact, a large electronic cigarette when two men burst into a house in the middle of the night looking for a baby’s dad, a court heard.

Adam Bird was told by Shane Ashurst his head would be smashed in, and that he would be stabbed when Ashurst and accomplice Andrew Bury turned up hunting the householder Matthew Heys.

Innocent Mr Bird had the ‘bar’ pressed into his face by Ashurst, who asked him: ‘Do you want to die?’ and then demanded cash.

Burnley Crown Court was told how Ashurst’s wife, Becky, was the tot’s aunt and Mr Heys was said to have taken issue with her seeing the child.

Mr Heys had texted Mrs Ashurst, calling her an idiot, and telling her: “I know you’re on crack. I will come down there and drag you out of that house.”

Ashurst’s parting shot to Mr Bird was to tell him to pass on to Mr Heys he was going to kill him and said: “Nobody calls my wife a smack head.”

Ashurst, of Disraeli Street and Bury, 43, of Windermere Avenue, both Burnley, had earlier admitted affray.

Ashurst was jailed for 14 months, and Bury was jailed for 10 months.

Stephen Parker, prosecut-ing, said the E-cigarette had substantial weight to it, was metal and, if held at the top, it was, to all intents and purposes, a short bar.

Mrs Ashurst told her husband about the messages a few hours before the trouble. Ashurst and Bury then went to Mr Heys’ Burnley home looking for him. His friend Mr Bird had the misfortune to be a lodger there at the time.

The prosecutor continued: “By a twist of fate, Mr Heys wasn’t there. A wholly inn-ocent person was asleep on the settee at 3am. He woke up to be confronted by the two defendants in the living room. They appeared to have let themselves in by an unlocked door.”