A MAN was caught with a cannabis farm in his home after worried neighbours called police, fearing he was being robbed.

People who lived nearby saw two men running from Alan Hipkiss's Wesley Street, Westhoughton house on April 19.

The pair had forced their way into the property and tied 53-year-old Hipkiss to a chair with gaffer tape, but had been unable to get into the bedroom where the cannabis was growing because the door was locked.

Officers responding to neighbours' concerns about a suspected robbery, knocked on Mr Hipkiss's door, Bolton Crown Court heard. Hipkiss still had tape around his upper body when he answered the door.

Nicoletta Amatino, prosecuting, said Hipkiss reluctantly let police into the property and they forced their way into the locked front bedroom where they found 35 cannabis plants growing, which could have yielded up to 1.4kg of the drug, worth as much as £14,000 on the street.

Hipkiss told police he had been approached in a pub by men who asked to use a room in his house in return for payment.

"There is no evidence he was responsible for growing the plants," said Miss Amatino.

The court heard that Hipkiss is awaiting surgery for a hernia and so was unable to be sentenced to do unpaid work.

Colin Buckle, defending, said: "He made a very poor decision in a pub and found himself tied to a chair being faced with criminals."

Judge Richard Gioserano sentenced Hipkiss to a 12 month community order for 12 months with 15 days of rehabilitation activities.

He will also be electronically tagged and subject to a 9pm to 7am curfew for three months.