Charges dropped against man who started fire by trying to produce cannabis oil

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ARSON charges have been dropped against a man who inadvertently started a fire while attempting to produce cannabis oil.

Dean Day was badly burned in the blaze which spread from his girlfriend’s flat to a neighbouring property, in Dunelm Walk, Peterlee, causing an estimated £88,000 damage.

Durham Crown Court heard Day was in an induced coma in Sunderland Royal Hospital for three weeks after the incident, on February 10 last year, suffering severe burns to his hands and face.

His girlfriend, whose home Day was visiting at the time, was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

Michael Graham, prosecuting, said the blaze badly damaged Day’s girlfriend’s flat, rented from East Durham Homes, and the adjoining privately-owned premises.

The fire was believed to have started during the process of Day extracting pollen from cannabis leaves using a butane gas cylinder.

Thirty-year-old Day, of Station House, Murton, denied two counts of arson being reckless as to whether property would be destroyed or damaged.

But, as Day pleaded guilty to further charges of producing and possessing a controlled drug, Mr Graham said the prosecution would not be pursuing the two counts of arson.

He told the court Day appeared to have grown the cannabis plants from which he was trying to extract the pollen.

Judge Christopher Prince imposed six months’ community supervision and ordered Day to pay £150 costs.