THREE burglars were caught red-handed as they broke into a cannabis farm.
Ali Haji Ahmad, 36, Iden Aziz, 36, and Arkan Hamed Hussain, 26, entered the house in a bid to steal drugs.
Police officers arrived at the scene just moments after the three men, all Kurdish Iraqis, had broken in through the back door.
The trio appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday where they each pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to steal.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “They went to the address knowing there was a cannabis farm there, and went with the intent of stealing the cannabis.
“Police were called by a member of the public who was concerned about people acting suspiciously.”
Derek Logg, defending Aziz and Hussain, said: “They derived no benefit to themselves and were only inside the premises for a matter of minutes before the police arrived and arrested them.”
Defending Ahmad, Laura Johnson said: “They left empty handed. There was no ransacking of the premises.”
Hussain, of Argyle Square, Sunderland, was sentenced to a six-month community order. He was placed on a curfew for four months, during which he will be electronically tagged. He was ordered to pay court costs of £85.
Ahmad, of Eden Terrace, Sunderland, received a 12-month community order. He must complete 200 hours of unpaid work, and was made to pay court costs of £85.
Aziz, of Elmwood Street, Sunderland, was fined £300. He was ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a £15 victim surcharge.