A BROKE restaurant manager tied himself up in a staged burglary designed to buy him time to pay off his landlord.

Rihal Noor had managed restaurants in Swindon. But a divorce cleared out his funds and lost him his family's sympathy.

In April he was struggling to pay the rent and hit upon the idea of staging a bungled burglary in a bid to get his landlord off his back.

Prosecuting, Michelle Hewitt said: "He had set up an elaborate scene that he had been burgled, tied up and robbed."

Detectives from Wiltshire Police spent more than 28 hours investigating what was initially dealt with as a terrifying house-raid.

But officers cottoned on that he had made up the crime. CCTV footage showed him buying cable ties from Homebase and when he was interviewed by officers Noor coughed to wasting police time.

When detectives visited his home to search for evidence they found a stun gun and pepper spray stashed in a cupboard.

Appearing before Swindon Magistrates’ Court, Noor, 35, now of Groundwell Road, admitted wasting police time and three counts of possession of a weapon designed for the discharge of a noxious gas or electrical incapacitation.

Stephen Collins, defending, turned to cult TV hit Blackadder in a bid to explain his client’s bizarre behaviour. “Mr Noor was a twit. He was in dire financial straits, owed money to a landlord and came up with one of Baldrick’s cunning plans – and it spectacularly backfired,” he said.

Hailing from a wealthy family, Noor had been in the restaurant business. Social media site LinkedIn has him as the manager of Monsoon, a now closed Indian restaurant formerly on Faringdon Road.

But after splitting with his wife, Noor lost the support of his family. He lost the business and debts mounted. Noor landed upon the idea of staging the burglary as a way of buying himself some time before his landlord kicked him out of his rented home.

He was described as a “well-respected businessman who has fallen on hard times” by his lawyer.

Mr Collins explained that Noor also had a daughter by a girlfriend living in Poland. Driving back to the UK from seeing the pair he had stopped at a petrol station in Germany.

He spotted the stun gun and pepper spray on the shelves and thought they would make good home ornaments, not realising the items were illegal in the UK.

“He got it home, took it out the packaging and it looked rubbish. Not something you would want on the mantelpiece,” Mr Collins said of the stun gun. The weapon was consigned – without batteries and still wrapped up – to a kitchen cupboard.

Magistrates sentenced Noor to a 12-month community order and told him to complete 240 hours of unpaid work and up to 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days. He must pay £1,000 compensation to Wiltshire Police.

Chairman of the bench Diana Crockett said: “I am sure you will be very pleased after today’s over and you can start work on the rest of your life.”