TWO hapless burglars were hospitalised when they ate the proceeds of a pharmacy raid because the police turned up.
James Cutter and Robert Pickering caused £10,000 damage when they broke into The Forge pharmacy in Sunderland, with Stephen Cutter, who had deactivated the alarm the previous day.
Newcastle Crown Court heard shop staff had realised the security system was tampered with and had it fixed before the trio turned up in the early hours.
The three burglars barricaded themselves in with the drugs when they realised the shop alarm had gone off and the police were outside.
They then stuffed stolen medication into their mouths, pockets and even one of their bottoms.
Officers at the scene were sprayed with foam from a fire extinguisher before the raiders finally surrendered with the words: “We’re bang to rights.”
James Cutter, who had hidden drugs in his anus and needed treatment for three days, and Pickering were both taken straight to hospital as a result of the medication they had taken in the shop.
Jamie Adams, defending, said: “Even though they knew the police were there, each of them thought they would make a last grab for the medication. One stuck some up his anus and others in their pockets.”
Stephen Cutter, 44, of Felstead Square, Sunderland, was jailed for two years.
James Cutter, 46, of Percival Street, Sunderland, and Robert Pickering, 43, of Galashiels Road, Sunderland, were each have jailed for 18 months.
All three had admitted burglary.
Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court how staff at the chemist shop in Neville Road, Sunderland, had realised the alarm was deactivated and swiftly arranged to have it fixed on April 16.
It was at 4.40am the following morning that the system detected them and alerted the police.
Mr Pallister said: “The defendants had hoped the alarm deactivation would not be noticed prior to the commission of the burglary.
“Police attended the premises and officers could hear voices from inside a fire exit door.
“An officer shouted ‘get out of there now’ and a voice shouted ‘there’s no chance you are getting in here’.
“The door was opened and a fire extinguisher set off by Stephen Cutter, directly at the officers.
“The foam hit one officer in the face.
“Officers sprayed CS spray on the males and the door was slammed shut.
“Officers forced entry and found the three male defendants hiding in the staff toilets.
“James Cutter and Robert Pickering were taken to hospital. Both had taken medication during the incident.
“James Cutter had medication concealed in his anus.”
The court heard £9,459 damage was caused to the building and the medication inside. The pharmacy was forced to close for a day, at huge inconvenience to customers.
Judge Deborah Sherwin said: “Stephen Cutter, you were the person whose idea it was, you tampered with the alarm system the previous day and did not appreciate it had been repaired.
“I am satisfied the reason the three of you broke in was so you could steal items, in particular prescription drugs so you could take them yourselves or could sell them.”
Defence barristers said all three men have kept out of trouble since and taken steps to tackle their problems.