FOUR men who had been drinking at a man's home, later used it to store property they had stolen from a neighbour's house.

Blackburn magistrates heard that Noel Martin Starkie initially told them to move the property but then let them leave it overnight.

In the meantime police arrived, searched the house and recovered various items including a vacuum cleaner, a CD player and a karaoke machine, all belonging to Carol Johnson.

Starkie, 39, of Monmouth Road, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods. He was made subject to a community rehabilitation order for 12 months and ordered to pay £56 compensation and £75 costs.

Peter Wilde, prosecuting, said there was no suggestion that Starkie had been involved in the burglary. Four men were seen to leave his house at 1.30am and approach a neighbouring property. Three went in and were seen taking various items into Starkie's home.

Basharat Ditta, defending, said at the time of the burglary Starkie was not at home and when he returned he immediately ordered the men to remove the property.

"They said they could not do it there and then and he foolishly gave them until the morning," said Mr Ditta. "By allowing the items to remain for even that short period, he is guilty of the offence."