Bungling cannabis grower set fire to his own house

The plants could have been worth almost �11,000
The plants could have been worth almost �11,000

A hapless cannabis farmer accidentally torched his own home during a bungled bid to grow more than £10,000 worth of the drug in his bedroom.

Sean Joyce burnt a hole through to the living room below and his cannabis factory was discovered by the emergency services when they arrived to answer a 999 call.

When police and firefighters inspected the property after extinguishing the blaze they found cannabis 20 plants at the seat of the fire.

Perth Sheriff Court was told that the crop could have been worth over £10,000 if Joyce’s amateurish electrical set-up had not sparked the incident.

Joyce (47) of Bowton Road, Kinross, admitted producing cannabis at his former address in Whyte Place, Milnathort, on March 8 2017.

Fiscal depute Bill Kermode told the court: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service were called to the property and the police attended as well. The house is in a cul-de-sac.

“Whilst the fire service were extinguishing the fire they discovered this cannabis cultivation in the rear bedroom. There was a ceiling fan, heat lamps and plants which were approximately two feet in height.

“There was a significant hole in the floor where the fire had burned through to the living room below. Police were met by the accused, who had been told of the fire by telephone.

“He confirmed no-one else lived in the property. An SSE engineer attended to make the property safe. He confirmed there were no signs of a meter bypass.

“He was also of the opinion it was not caused by an electrical fault as none of the fuses had blown, but it appeared the way the electrical supply had been set up in the bedroom for the cultivation was a fire hazard.”

Mr Kermode told the court that if each plant had produced a yield of three ounces of cannabis the total value of Joyce’s home grown crop could be £10,800.

Solicitor Paul Ralph, defending, said: “At least it is refreshing to come across an operation of this kind where he was actually going to be paying for the electricity!

“If ever there was a lesson that tells you ‘don’t do it’ then surely Mr Joyce has had that hammered home to him here. Hopefully he has learned that lesson.

“To some extent he has landed fortunate, as the local authority has re-housed him closer to his mother and he is now concentrating on caring for her.”

Sheriff Gillian Wade said: “This is a serious offence, particularly because your cannabis cultivation resulted in a fire breaking out at the local authority house where you were residing.

“I appreciate it was not a supply operation, but was for your own use.” She ordered Joyce to perform 200 hours unpaid work as an alternative to custody.