ADDICTS “desperate” for a fix of cocaine brandished knives after a discussion with a drug dealer turned heated, a court heard.

Users Paul Taylor, 45, and Mike Blaylock, 34, arrived at an address in Clacton on the hunt for Ben Kirby, in the hopes of scoring a portion of the Class A drug.

When Mr Kirby arrived outside the house, he saw the two defendants and a third unidentified man.

Gavin Pottinger, prosecuting at Chelmsford Crown Court, said: “It was clear Mr Taylor wanted to buy some drugs from Mr Kirby.

“He said: ‘get me some gear, you’ve been to London to load up.’ “Mr Kirby said he didn’t have any drugs. He agreed to meet them further down the road.”

When the group reconvened in Hadleigh Road, Taylor “lost his temper.”

Blaylock drew a knife, swiping the blade at Mr Kirby, who was sitting in his car.

Mr Kirby initially drove away from the scene, but returned and witnessed Taylor brandishing a knife.

Taylor “swiped” the knife at the car as it passed, causing damage to the vehicle.

Two days after the incident, Taylor and Blaylock burgled a home in Edith Road, Clacton.

The pair were seen on CCTV entering the address, before leaving with an Xbox games console worth £399.

Taylor also shoplifted from several businesses across Clacton between August last year and February.

Richard Conley, mitigating for Taylor, said each crime was fuelled by his addiction.

Taylor has seven convictions for 29 offences and has served prison sentences for crimes including armed robbery.

But Mr Conley said Taylor had turned his life around across a six year period, after he met his current partner.

But he was forced to move from his “nice town house” in Walton to a smaller address in Clacton after a fall from a ladder “destroyed” his successful painting and decorating business.

“They weren’t able to keep up with the rental payments and downsized – moving to Clacton, a town which endures considerable hardship with poverty and drugs,” he said.

“Regrettably he fell prey to some of these influences in the town.”

Gareth Hughes, mitigating for Blaylock, said his client had moved to Clacton from Southend after a ten year relationship came to an end, where he also sank into drug addiction.

“He was desperate for drugs,” said Mr Hughes.

Blaylock, of West Avenue, Clacton, and Taylor, of Waldegrave Way, Lawford, admitted making threats with a knife and burglary.

Taylor admitted eight counts of shoplifting.

Recorder John Bate-Williams sentenced Taylor to two years and eight months in prison and Blaylock to one year and 11 months imprisonment.

The judge said the case serves as an example of the devastation wrought by the illicit drugs trade

“I am afraid this is another example of the misery and hopelessness brought on by the unlawful use of drugs, which so often leads to criminal activity,” he said.

“However despicable are those involved in the drugs trade, they are entitled to protection from violence.”

Before committing his crimes, addict Blaylock had never served a prison sentence.

Ahead of the sentencing, his solicitor Gareth Hughes said: “Mr Blaylock has now been in custody for about five months.

“The impact of custody has had its effect.

“He is someone who has done everything he can to make use of the time, to re-build relationships with his family and friends and to ensure he is drug free.

“The re-building process as far as he is concerned is well on its way.”

Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Daniel Jefferies, of Clacton CID, said: “Taylor and Blaylock attempted to stab a man in a brazen attack outside a school in the middle of the day.

“They didn’t care who was around. Fortunately the victim managed to dodge the knife and quickly drove away from the scene.

“Just days later they were seen on CCTV carrying out a burglary and will now serve time locked in prison cells.”