Charges dropped after flat blaze

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ARSON charges have been dropped against a man who inadvertently started a fire in a flat 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, in February last year.

It caused damage estimated at £88,000.

Day was in an induced coma in Sunderland Royal Hospital for three weeks suffering from severe burns to his hands and face. His girlfriend was treated for smoke inhalation.

Michael Graham, prosecuting, told Durham Crown Court the blaze badly damaged the flat, which was rented from East Durham Homes, and the adjoining privately-owned properties.

Day, 30, of Station House, Murton, denied two counts of arson being reckless as to whether property would be destroyed or damaged, one each relating to his girlfriend’s home and the adjoining premises. But as Day pleaded guilty to further charges of producing and possessing a controlled drug, relating to the cannabis oil, Mr Graham said the prosecution would not be pursuing the two counts of arson.

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

The judge also recorded formal not guilty verdicts relating to the two arson charges.