POLICE have praised the bravery of a Carlisle businessman who was attacked at knifepoint in a car park.

The three men who hatched the plan to rob the businessman were jailed for more than 13 years on Friday.

Carlisle Crown Court had heard that Dale Kenney, 21, Mark Ferguson, 24, and Martin Nicholson, 33, instructed a mystery hitman to target John Harding on November 10, 2014.

He was confronted by a masked robber, who was carrying a 4in blade and made off with nearly £1,000 in cash.

The terrifying robbery happened late afternoon, when it was already dark, in Carlisle’s Lord Street Car Park.

Neither Kenney and Ferguson – who had been employed by the victim – nor Nicholson physically took part in the robbery.

However, they each admitted a charge of conspiracy to rob.

Nicholson, of Caldewgate, and Ferguson, of Merith Avenue, both Carlisle, received four-and-a-half-year jail terms.

Kenney, also of Merith Avenue, Carlisle, was given a four-year custodial term with a six-month sentence added on for drugs supply offences.

After Friday’s sentencing, Detective Constable Sara Monkhouse, of Carlisle CID, said: “This was a very frightening ordeal for the victim who was threatened with a knife when going about his daily business.

“I welcome the sentences imposed by the court which reflect the seriousness of this crime.”