Drink and drug fuelled hammer raid in Tipton
A crew of burglars fuelled on drink and drugs ransacked a house and made off with a haul including a child's toys during a raid in broad daylight, a court heard.
Clara Ebanks acted as lookout while Blaine Powell and Craig Robinson carried out the break-in at a property in Hawthorn Road, Tipton, on January 8.
Wolverhampton Crown Court was told that the trio of thieves were chased off by a 'public- spirited neighbour' who Robinson repeatedly attempted to hit with a hammer.
They had scouted the property earlier in the day before Powell and Robinson clambered over a back fence and broke in at around 3pm. Mr Gerald Bermingham, prosecuting, told the court that a neighbour had watched them enter the house and saw Powell handing a TV to Robinson.
"Ebanks asked him for directions in an effort to distract while the men fled the house," said the prosecutor.
"She managed to get away along with Powell but the neighbour caught up with Robinson who was carrying the TV."
The court was told Robinson dropped the TV and took out a claw hammer which he repeatedly swung at the man.
"Robinson was punched by the man and bitten by his dog, before he made his escape," added Mr Bermingham.
The court heard the contents of draws in the bedroom of the house were emptied out all over the bed during what the judge described as 'a high-level burglary'.
In the days after the burglary, the thieves were arrested after they were caught on CCTV selling a Playstation and accessories, toys and a Samsung Notebook to stores in West Bromwich.
Ms Kate Thomas, defending Robinson, said her client had been sober for 13 years before a domestic dispute led to him turning to drink on the day of the burglary.
Powell, who admitted to knowing the owner of the targeted property, was said to be in the grip of crack cocaine addiction. Mr Timothy Pole said drugs had also played a major part in Ebanks getting 'swept along' with the offence.
Ebanks, aged 39, of Shakespeare Road, Tipton, Powell, 26, of Park Street, Wednesbury, and Robinson, 29, of Bloomfield Road, Tipton, all pleaded guilty to burglary.
Robinson pleaded guilty to an additional charge of making threats with an offensive weapon. He was sentenced to 35 months in prison.
Ebanks and Powell were jailed for 14 months and 16 months respectively, with both periods of custody suspended for two years.
Judge Nicholas Webb praised the actions of the neighbour who had disrupted the thieves and ordered he be paid £300 from public funds.
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