A witness who called 999 after seeing a violent robbery unwittingly snared a major cannabis dealer.

A member of the public called police after spotting Andrew Howell, 52, being assaulted outside his home in South Terrace, Surbiton.

Howell told police he fell over after being hit over his head by two white men who shouted "where is the cash" before leaving empty-handed on Wednesday, November 13 at about 10.20pm.

But officers found his house was littered with cannabis.

They also traced a rented storage unit containing 16 boxes of herbal cannabis and a large amount of cannabis resin bars.

Howell was sentenced to three years in prison on January 3 after he pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of £90,000 of cannabis with intent to supply herbal cannabis and possession with intent to supply cannabis resin.

In total officers seized 4.05 kilos of skunk cannabis, 1.71 kilos of herbal cannabis and 8.17 kilos of cannabis resin.

Howell pleaded guilty and was sentenced on the same day at Kingston Crown Court.

Detective Constable Alan Mears from Kingston police said: “This is a significant amount of drugs taken off the streets of Kingston involving someone who had not previously come to police notice.

“The case was successful thanks to the diligence of the member of public and the initial reactions of the attending officers.

“The thoroughness of the subsequent investigation conducted by Kingston CID led to the discovery of another location controlled by Howell where a further substantial amount of cannabis had been stored.”