Stafford man jailed after £30,000 of cannabis discovered due to house fire

A man has been jailed for more than four years after £30,000 worth of cannabis was found at the scene of a house fire in Stafford.

Taplin Close. Photo: Google
Taplin Close. Photo: Google

Staffordshire fire crews had attended a house fire on Taplin Close on April 29, 2020, and alerted police of a possible drugs set-up inside.

They raised concerns after spotting dangerous electrical wiring running from fuse board along the stairs, Stafford Crown Court heard.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze and officers discovered 60 cannabis plants – and an electricity bypass at the property – during the search.

Mark Baglin, from Taplin Close in the town, was arrested and a search of an additional address revealed a bin-bag of cannabis hidden in the loft.

Officers seized 3.18kg of cannabis which is valued up to £31,900. A gas company estimated 14,818kWh of electricity had been bypassed in-order to cultivate the grow, with an estimated cost of £2,731.

Baglin, aged 47, was sentenced to four years and six months behind bars on July 28 at Stafford Crown Court after admitting being concerned in the supply of cannabis, production of cannabis and abstracting electricity.

Sergeant Thomas Fotherby, the officer in the case, said: “This is an example of how dangerous and damaging drug cultivation can be.

“Baglin had bypassed electricity and installed dangerous wiring around the property which posed significant fire safety risks.

“I would like to thank our colleagues at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service for their quick response to this fire which ultimately led officers to a substantial drug find and another criminal behind bars.”

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