Two criminals who brought terror to staff in local businesses have been warned they face lengthy prison sentences.
Malcolm Alker, a former rugby league ace and popular amateur coach and his accomplice Michael Naylor both pleaded guilty to robbing two Wigan stores armed with a machete.
Ex-Salford City Reds captain Alker, 39, from Rathern Avenue, Higher Ince, admitted to entering KFC in Ince and Tesco Express in Whelley with the weapon as well as two counts of robbery.
The retired rugby star and his co-accused, 25-year-old Naylor of West Street in Higher Ince, pleaded guilty to all four charges at Bolton Crown Court.
On Halloween this year, terrified cashiers at both Tesco and KFC were confronted by the machete wielding men, who stole a total of around £700 in their robbing spree.
Alker, 39, who once coached at St Patrick’s Amateur Rugby League Club, will find out his fate at a sentencing on January 12.
Judge Graeme Smith was told by defence barrister Paul Treble, that Alker should undergo an assessment prior to sentencing.
The court heard how Alker has been sectioned three times in the past for psychiatric “episodes”.
Mr Treble added: “The court may find it useful to understand why a man who was a professional rugby player committed an offence such as this.”
Naylor, who also pleaded guilty to all four charges, will also be sentenced on the same day.
He has no previous convictions.
Judge Smith told the men, who have both been remanded in custody and appeared via a video link: “You are facing significant custodial sentences.
“In the case of Malcolm Alker I am told there are issues that need to be brought to the attention of the sentencing judge.”
Alker, who retired in 2010, played more than 350 games as a hooker for Salford in a career spanning 13 years.
He has previously been at the centre of anti-doping allegations and even admitted to taking banned drugs in his autobiography.