Two criminals caught stealing plants from Norfolk cannabis factory
PUBLISHED: 16:41 10 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:50 11 October 2020
Two criminals were caught red-handed trying to steal plants from a Norfolk cannabis factory.
Norwich Crown Court heard Benjamin Asante and Stoica Klaosen, both 31, had driven up from London to Norfolk to target a property in Ford Street, Thetford, which had been “turned into a cannabis factory”.
Clare Matthews, prosecuting, said the pair had been looking to steal cannabis plants from the property but were heard by a neighbour who saw one of them using a crow bar to attempt to jemmy open a ground floor window.
Police were called and the defendants were caught red-handed with Klaosen wearing a dark ski-mask and dark clothing and Asante found on a landing in the property with a machete nearby.
Both defendants were arrested at the scene following the burglary on December 20 last year.
Outside the address was a VW Transporter van which had been hired by Asante and a large Chrysler vehicle brought by Klaosen.
Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) equipment showed that both vehicles had travelled from London to Norfolk the previous day.
The prosecution said it had been a targeted raid with the defendants having both taken vehicles and travelled a long distance to target the cannabis factory and steal plants as well as other cannabis growing equipment.
Asante, of no fixed address, and Klaosen, from London, appeared at court on Thursday, October 8 when they both admitted burglary on December 20 last year.
Jailing them both for 22 months, Judge Andrew Shaw said it was a “serious domestic burglary” which had been planned by the defendants.
Judge Shaw said it was no mitigation that the pair were targeting a cannabis factory or that “it was criminals stealing from other criminals”.
Ciara Mcelvogue, mitigating for Klaosen, said the defendant, who is originally from Albania, pleaded guilty to the offence and accepts he made an “ill-considered decision” to get involved in the operation for a “relatively small sum of cash”.
Mandisa Knights, representing Asante, said he wanted to apologise for his actions and to the people of Thetford for the concern the incident caused.
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