Power-stealing drug grower's shocking wiring

By Kelli Hooks of the Wairarapa Times Age -
Photo / File
Photo / File

An electrician said a home-grown cannabis operation in Carterton was the most dangerous wiring he'd seen in 40 years.

Unemployed Craig Stewart Mclachlan pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis and the theft of power when he appeared in the Masterton District Court yesterday.

Mclachlan, 39, had set up a cannabis grow room, complete with heat lamps and fans, in the Carterton house and rewired the power meter, to gain free electricity for the room. By doing so, he put the homeowner and neighbours at risk of fire, said Judge Bill Hastings.

An electrician used by police examined the meter and said it was the most dangerous wiring he had come across in his 40 years' experience and a major fire risk.

Police said Mclachlan had been stealing power for about two years, which coincided with a change in the electricity provider to Tiny Mighty Power in 2011.

On May 29, police executed a search warrant at the Wakelin St house and discovered the grow room, which held 32 plants, from seedlings through to a heavily budded mature plant.

Writing on a wall detailed dates and types of cannabis, indicating the grow operation had been in place for about three years.

Tiny Mighty Power estimated he had stolen about $700 worth of electricity in that time.

Defence lawyer Ian Hard said while Mclachlan did not dispute the charges, he disputed the length of time he had been stealing electricity and the length of the operation itself.

Judge Hastings ordered Mclachlan to pay reparation of $700 to the electricity company and sentenced him to 160 hours of community work.

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