Fire crews find cannabis farm during house blaze

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FIREFIGHTERS stumbled across a cannabis farm after tackling a blaze at an Atherton house.

Equipment used to heat the plants sparked a fire at a maisonette in Peak Avenue at 2am on Wednesday.

The occupier of the property managed to escape the fire before crews from Atherton and Hindley arrived.

The fire was limited to the bedroom, where the plants were cultivated, causing smoke damage.

Police were called and discovered about 30 plants in the bedroom and a further 60 in the loft upstairs.

A 43-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of producing a controlled drug and abstracting electricity.

Watch manager David Holden said: “The fire was caused by an electrical fault on a heater which was used to warm the room to grow cannabis.

“He had bypassed the metre so we could not isolate the supply without getting the North West Electricity board out. It was difficult for us firefighters and was very hazardous.”

This is the second drugs farm discovered in Atherton within a week.

Crews were called to a house in Bolton Road on November 17 after heating lamps had set fire. A total of 15 plants were found.

The police were called to the scene but as they began their inquiries they made no arrests as it was not clear whether the empty property was occupied.