A burglary victim faced charges of his own when police found cannabis in his Hamilton house this week.
City tactical co-ordinator, Senior Sergeant Freda Grace, said events unravelled for the man after some outstanding work by a neighbour led to the arrest of a burglar.
"The neighbour heard the sound of glass breaking next door and went to investigate.
"Confronting a man who fled through the house and out the front door, the man thwarted the burglar's attempts to escape on a bike he had taken earlier," she said. The neighbour gave a description of the offender to police as he chased him on foot.
Ms Grace said although the burglar managed to elude his pursuer, the neighbour's description was so accurate officers were able to identify and arrest a man a short time later.
"And that's where things would normally have ended up, with an excellent example of someone seeing something then doing the right thing by ringing 111.
"But it wasn't the end of it in this case. As you would expect, officers returned to the property to assess the damage and look for any evidence when they noticed a smell coming from a smashed window."
Their suspicions were confirmed when, looking through the broken window, they noticed an indoor cannabis-growing operation.
"There was a bit of a pause on the end of the line when an officer rang the victim to inform him his home had been broken into.
"The officer mentioned one of his windows had been broken and when he asked which one the officer said; `the one where the cannabis is growing'.
"There was a bit of a delay before the victim replied that he would be down there shortly.
"The burglar has understandably been charged with burglary – and his victim was charged with cultivating cannabis."
Ms Grace said although the situation had a humorous element, there was nothing funny about how illegal drugs were a significant driver of dishonesty offending.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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