THE homeowner in the drugs farm burglary in which one of the raiders was shot and lost a leg has been charged with malicious wounding, we can reveal today.
Yesterday, the two men who carried out the burglary at Whitbourne were jailed for a total of 23 years.
Robert Richards suffered massive injuries but his life was saved by accomplice Darren Randall who was jailed for a total of 13 years and four months.
Wolverhampton Crown Court was told that Richards, aged 30, was shot by Malcolm White after the gang targeted the rural smallholding he shared with partner Josephine Merrick in Stocking Lane, Whitbourne, to steal £65,000 of cannabis together with money and valuables.
The two men were arrested after seeking help at a Chinese restuarant in Leigh Sinton, near Worcester.
Meanwhile police called to reports of the burglary had discovered a large-scale cannabis farm at the couple’s small-holding home.
The court was told a decision had not yet been taken on whether to charge White with the shooting, but police later said a man in his 60s was due to appear at Hereford Magistrates Court this month charged with unlawful and malicious wounding.
After yesterday’s sentencing, Detective Sergeant Frank Real of Hereford CID said: “This was not an opportunistic burglary but a planned operation carried out by a professional criminal outfit.
“Richards and Randall spent a great deal of time planning this burglary and went to the house in Whitbourne on that evening well prepared with cable ties, balaclavas and gloves with the intention of parting Merrick and White from their possessions.
“Offences like this are extremely unusual in our force area and this has been a highly complex investigation.
“I would like to thank members of the public living in the local communities of Whitbourne and Leigh Sinton for their help and co-operation while we carried out our inquiries into this incident.”