Herefordshire cannabis farmer who shot burglar cleared

Whitbourne shooting house Malcolm White was protecting his farmhouse from cannabis burglars, the court heard

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A farmhouse owner who shot a burglar in the leg with a shotgun while trying to protect his £20,000 cannabis crop has been acquitted of unlawful wounding.

Malcolm White, 64, shot Robert Richards during a raid at Stocking Gobbetts, Whitbourne, Herefordshire, in 2011.

Richards, who lost part of his leg, was armed with a crowbar and chisel when he tried to break into the farmhouse.

White admitted growing cannabis and illegal possession of weapons and will be sentenced at a later date.

During the trial at Worcester Crown Court, Simon Phillips QC, prosecuting, described how White had been intent on protecting his cannabis-growing operation and had placed loaded shotguns around his secluded farmhouse.

On 5 October 2011 he was watching the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral western when his front window was smashed in with a sledgehammer, the court heard.

Partner inside

The jury was told that White jumped up, grabbed a loaded shotgun and fired three shots.

He later told police he was not aiming at the raider and did not think he had hit him.

White's partner Josephine Merrick was inside the farmhouse at the time.

White called police to report the break-in and Richards and his accomplice Darren Randall left empty-handed.

Police realised the motivation for the attempted burglary when they discovered the cannabis at the farmhouse.

In February, Richards, of Scholars Gate, Birmingham, was jailed for 10-and-a-half years at Wolverhampton Crown Court after being convicted of aggravated burglary following the raid in 2011.

Randall, of Yardley Fields Road, Birmingham, was convicted of the same offence and jailed for 13 years and four months.

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