Published: 15:00, 07 December 2017
| Updated: 15:12, 07 December 2017
A gang carried out an armed raid on a Canterbury house filled with cannabis plants before driving at and hitting a police officer, a court has heard.
Neighbours woke to the sounds of banging and smashing glass in the early hours of the morning as the four men broke into the home in Edgar Road.
They were seen loading items into the back of a Ford Transit van, but when police arrived they jumped in and sped off, driving at one of the officers.
He managed to fling himself out of the way to avoid serious injury, but was still clipped by the van.
The gang abandoned the van in Havelock Street and then split up in an effort to evade police, but two of them – Kerem Bedensel and Reneo Shehu – were arrested in Duck Lane.
Shehu, 20, was carrying two plastic tube-like containers of cocaine.
A police dog found the other two men - Osman Elmi and Androen Lafetaj – hiding beneath vehicles in Queningate car park, and they were also arrested.
A Berretta handgun was found on the ground next to 23-year-old Lafetaj.
A search of the area uncovered gloves, hats, a hunting knife, mobile phones and more tubes of cocaine that had been discarded by the gang.
The house they had targeted was found to contain cannabis plants and cultivation equipment.
At Canterbury Crown Court, Elmi, 26, of Wood Green, London, was found guilty of burglary and jailed for a year.
Bedensel, 28, who is also from Wood Green, was convicted of burglary, dangerous driving, and driving while disqualified. He was jailed for 18 months and banned from driving for three years.
Lafetaj and Shehu, both of no fixed address, failed to turn up for the trial and are being hunted by police.
In his absence, Lafetaj was found guilty of aggravated burglary and possession of a firearm and cocaine.
Shehu was convicted of aggravated burglary and cocaine possession.
Investigating officer DC David Friend said: “These four men had organised to travel down to Canterbury from north London to commit this burglary.
“We believe they were drawn to the property due to the cannabis cultivation. Bringing weapons, including an illegal firearm, was a very serious statement and one which could have had tragic repercussions.
“Fortunately they were found and arrested quickly and the firearm was taken away before it could cause any harm.
“In the eyes of the law there will never be a legitimate reason for carrying such a firearm, and I think the verdicts confirm that.”
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