5:37pm Tuesday 26th February 2013
A PAIR of would-be burglars who tried to raid a Brierley Hill cannabis factory were caught after they disturbed the neighbours.
Farooq Chaudhary and Marcus Ranger were given suspended jail sentences at Dudley Magistrates Court having previously been found guilty of trying to break in to a flat on Columbus Avenue near the Merry Hill shopping centre.
Both men had denied a charge of attempted burglary plus one count of failing to surrender to bail in connection with the incident, which happened at around midnight on June 18 last year.
They had backed a van up to the front door of the property, which was being rented by an unknown tenant, and disturbed nearby residents while trying to break in.
Prosecutor David Truelove told the court: "A couple were woken by noises, they saw three men trying to get in by smashing the door.
"They called the police, two officers detained the two defendants who were seeking to enter an active cannabis factory."
The court was told Chaudhary, aged 26 of Lissimore Drive, Tipton, was a man of previous good character while Ranger, aged 34, of Uplands Avenue, had previous convictions but nothing on his record since 2007.
The hearing was also told both men still denied the allegations but accepted the guilty verdicts on both charges.
District judge Michael Wheeler told the men the level of benefit from breaking in to an active cannabis factory was high and the offences crossed the custody threshold.
He told Ranger his level of culpability was high and handed out an 18 month jail term suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid community work.
He said the plan was not Chaudhary's idea and he was the man with the vehicle. Chaudhary was sentenced to 12 weeks jail suspended for 12 months plus 150 hours unpaid work.
Both men were ordered to pay £375 compensation for the damage to the door and costs of £200.
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