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Dingwall house explosion caused by cannabis cultivation inside, Inverness Sheriff Court hears


By Court Reporter

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Police in attendance at the Macrae Crescent property in Dingwall after men injured in explosion. Picture: Gary Anthony
Police in attendance at the Macrae Crescent property in Dingwall after men injured in explosion. Picture: Gary Anthony

AN explosion which badly damaged a Dingwall house was caused by the occupants growing cannabis.

Both men were badly burned in the incident on February 2, 2020 in MacRae Crescent, and required specialist treatment in a Livingston Burns Unit.

This week at Inverness Sheriff Court, one of the casualties, Kevin Dwenger (40), of Hill Street, Dingwall admitted producing a controlled drug and culpable and reckless conduct.

He had sentence deferred until May 5 for a background report and bail was continued. However Sheriff Margaret Neilson warned Dwenger that custody was still a possibility.

Fiscal depute David Morton told the court that fire crews were called out on after reports of an explosion.

“On arrival, there was smoke and flames coming from the rear of the property. Dwenger identified himself to the firefighters that he was the occupant and is described as having cuts, bruises and obvious burns to his abdomen.

“On entering, firefighters observed a large quantity of butane gas canisters in the kitchen with various jars and dishes each containing what they believed to be herbal cannabis. There was significant damage to the property.

“The ground floor windows and the patio doors were completely blown out and lying in the garden. A non retaining internal wall was displaced in the explosion, the entire ground floor wiring and the kitchen had to be replaced.

“The cost to the landlord to reinstate the property was £28,048, of which £25,000 was met by his insurance company.”

The court heard that there was a small cannabis cultivation upstairs and Dwenger had been involved in trying to extract cannabis oil from the herbal cannabis using the gas canisters.

“The gas is likely to have built up within the small kitchen space and an unknown item or appliance sparked the explosion. 200 grams of cannabis were ultimately recovered,” Mr Morton went on.

He added that the second individual went to Raigmore Hospital later that day and was treated for upper limb burns, multiple areas of his back, his right hand and nostrils.

Defence solicitor advocate Neil Wilson asked for a background report as his client’s previous convictions ended in 2010 and his previous jail sentence was in 2007.

Related news: Two taken to hospital with 'serious injuries' after 'small explosion' in Dingwall



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