14/08/2014 12:57 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Burglars Caught After Girl, 13, Dialled 999 From Beneath Bed

Girl under blankets at night with a smart phone

A brave 13-year-old girl dialled 999 as she cowered under her bed while two burglars ransacked her home.

The girl and her nine-year-old brother stayed hidden after the men broke into their home in Erdington, Birmingham, last May.

But after making the call that led to their arrest, one of the burglars spotted the children and threatened them with a garden hoe.

Police arrived just four minutes after the emergency call and arrested the thieves.

Marcus Speirs and Richard Ansah, both 29, were charged with aggravated burglary and burglary, respectively.

At Birmingham Crown Court, they were sentenced to nine and four years in prison after admitting the charges.

West Midlands Police Detective Sergeant Mark Langley, said: "The young girl showed extreme courage and, crucially, had the awareness to grab a phone and take cover whilst dialling 999.

"She remained calm throughout what was undoubtedly a terrifying incident and was able to clearly and accurately relay details to a police call handler.

"The girl's textbook actions meant we were able to get officers to the scene within four minutes and catch both men in the act.

"These are two dangerous offenders – men who put young children through a shocking ordeal – and they have rightly been handed lengthy terms behind bars."

Speirs and Ansar, who was armed with a metal bar, broke into the address just before 6.30pm on May 7.

The court heard Speirs was the main aggressor and, on finding the girl hiding in a bedroom, snatched the phone from her and threatened her with the garden hoe.

Speirs was later found with the handset when searched in police custody.

Detective Sergeant Langley, added: "The evidence against both men was overwhelming and they pleaded guilty at an early stage. It meant neither child needed to give evidence – but had they been required to we have special measures in place to assist vulnerable witnesses when giving evidence and officers on hand to guide them through the process."