Four members of one family have all been locked up after violence erupted at a travellers’ site during which a man had part of his ear bitten off, a court heard.

The four were part of a group that had gone to confront Shane Stevens senior, 56, who lived at the Sadler Street/Parsonage Street site with his family, over a dispute.

In the trouble that followed, weapons were produced, violence was dished out and threats were made.

John Stevens, 24, his son, lost a third of his left ear. It was not proved that any of the four were involved in causing the wound.

John Price, 49, his son John Asa Price, 26, his son-in-law Martin Joseph Ward, 20, and Ward’s older brother John Paul Ward, 24,  had seriously disturbed the peace at the site in Church, Burnley Crown Court heard.

Although none of the defendants was to blame for the serious injury, all were involved in the incident which led to it, the court heard.

John Price and John Asa Price, then living in Stoke, and both Wards, of Parsonage Street, Church and at the time living at a caravan site in Darwen, all admitted affray.
 
Price senior and junior and John Ward were all jailed for nine months. Martin Ward received six months.

Another son of John Price, Tyson Wesley Price, 24, of  Sharpe Street, Accrington, will be sentenced on August 19 for his part in the melee. Sentencing, Recorder Alan Conrad, QC, told the defendants: “It was an ugly incident and clearly one which crosses the custody threshold.”

The court had been told how after the defendants arrived at the site in the morning, in April last year, inhabitants were attacked with fists and weapons were produced.

The four then left, again by car. The Wards were said to have issued threats and not used direct violence.
 
The ear biting victim was taken to hospital. The cartilage was exposed, the wound was closed and he may need further surgery.

Simon Killeen, representing Prince senior and junior, said the elder of the pair had not been in  trouble for almost eight years and had not been involved in violence since 2000. He said  that John junior had a drink problem and he was trying to address it. He had a young family, his wife was expecting their second child and they were hoping to move back to Blackburn.

For John Ward, Alan Wolstenholme said he had made good progress on an earlier community order. He had been involved in a one-off act of folly.

Katie Jones, defending Martin Ward, urged the court to impose a suspended sentence.  She said his behaviour had been out of character. His family now lived on the site and had reconciled with the complainants.

The barrister added: “He accepts he made threats and encouraged others. He accepts that behaviour is wholly inappropriate and he is remorseful."