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Faulty wiring in cannabis factory sparked fire in Darwen
7:00pm Wednesday 4th September 2013 in News
A CANNABIS farm in an attic sparked a fire, causing thousands of pounds of damage.
Mark Sterling decided to grow his own because he was a heavy user of the drug, a court was told. His actions were discovered when police and fire officers were called to the house in Richmond Terrace, Darwen.
The 25-year-old was given a 20-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, with 200 hours’ unpaid work when he appeared at Preston Crown Court.
He admitted being concerned in the production of cannabis and also dishonestly using £974 of electricity. He was also placed on a 12-week curfew, from 8pm-4am each night. He will also have to pay a £80 statutory surcharge.
Jeremy Grout-Smith, prosecuting, said the offences came to light as a result of a fire at the defendant’s home on the afternoon of July 29.
Officers were concerned to check the fire had not spread to neighbouring properties.
The fire had started in the attic, where Sterling’s cannabis farm had been set up and spread through to the bedroom below.
The prosecution said a fire report stated that an over burning of wires used to set up the farm, where electricity had been bypassed, had been the cause.
Sterling admitted to police having bought 17 or 18 plants three to four weeks earlier. He had set up the growing operation with the help of friends, who helped with the bypassing of the electricity.
He had no previous convictions.
Alexander Rostron, defending, said the cannabis was intended for Sterling’s own personal use.
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