£40,000 Shrewsbury cannabis farmer caught out by fire

By Deborah Hardiman | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Cannabis plants with an estimated street value of £40,000 were discovered by firefighters tackling a house fire in Shrewsbury, caused by the electricity supply being illegally bypassed to heat the plants.

Stephen Blair, 49, pleaded guilty at Telford Magistrates Court to an offence of producing cannabis on February 19, 2018, and an offence of using without authority a quantity of electricity to the value of £2,003.75 between December 1, 2017, and February 19, 2018.

Miss Jenny Winzor, prosecuting, said: "On February 19, 2018 the fire brigade was called to the defendant's address to reports of a fire in a cellar.

"When they arrived the defendant was asked what the problem was. He told them there was a 'grower upstairs'.

"It was established that the electricity had been bypassed, causing the fire.

"The police were called and 48 plants were recovered. If the cannabis had been divided into sized deals, at street value it could have realised up to £40,000."

The matter was transferred to Shrewsbury Crown Court where Blair, now of Briery Lane, Bicton Heath, Shrewsbury, will be sentenced on a date to be fixed.

He was granted unconditional bail.

About 15 firefighters used breathing gear to tackle the incident which happened at a two-storey property, in Whitehall Street, at about 11.30pm. The fire was put out by just before 1am.

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.


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