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Suspended sentence for South Yorkshire man whose attempt to make homemade cannabis oil resulted in explosion

A man caused over 47,000 of damage to his South Yorkshire flat block when his attempt to produce homemade cannabis oil resulted in an explosion.
A man caused over 47,000 of damage to his South Yorkshire flat block when his attempt to produce homemade cannabis oil resulted in an explosion.

A man caused over £47,000 of damage to his South Yorkshire flat block when his attempt to produce homemade cannabis oil resulted in an explosion.

Defendant, Richard Sambrook, suffered burns to his face, neck and arms, following the explosion at his flat in Oaks Lane, Kimberworth, Rotherham on December 2 last year.

Sheffield Crown Court heard how the explosion was caused when Sambrook, aged 43, lit a cigarette after carrying out what Judge David Dixon described as an 'extraction process' to make cannabis oil in some tubing, using butane gas and a quantity of the Class B drug.

Judge Dixon told Sambrook, of Oaks Lane, Kimberworth that if the process had been carried out in a laboratory with the correct equipment it may have been safe, but likened his 'idiotic' decision to make 'cannabis oil or a similar substance' at home to trying to build a car with tinfoil and straw and running petrol through it.

He said: "It was ridiculously stupid, but this wasn't an attempt to cause yourself, or others, harm."

Prosecutor Carl Fitch told the court: "The explosion had caused the structural integrity of the building to be completely compromised, and the tenant in the above flat had to move out.

"£47,046 of damage was caused to the property."

He added: "The fire investigator concluded the fire was caused by flash ignition of butane papers."

A total of 771 grams of cannabis was found at Sambrook's home, the court heard.

Under police interview, Sambrook told officers he needed to take cannabis because the medication he was prescribed for the chronic cluster headaches he suffered from did not help with the pain.

"He said he didn't want to resort to buying cannabis on the black market, and didn't want to cultivate cannabis. He intended to do an extraction of cannabis he found in the woods," added Mr Fitch.

Sambrook pleaded guilty to a string of charges including possession of cannabis and arson so reckless as to endanger life at an earlier hearing.

Defending, Dermot Hughes, referenced a recommendation from the probation service, suggesting that Sambrook could be dealt with by way of a community order and told the court Sambrook would also be 'happy to engage with the mental health team'.

Judge Dixon sentenced Sambrook to 14-months in prison, suspended for two-years, and ordered him to complete a 45-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

"Let me make it clear: the use of cannabis, for whatever reason, is illegal. The courts cannot, and will not, condone using something that is illegal. Who knows what will come in due course, we have seen discussion around this on the news in recent weeks," said Judge Dixon.

He added: "Getting involved in this sort of stupidity clearly deserves jail, but I'm not going to send you to jail today."

Judge Dixon reserved all breaches of the suspended sentence order to him, and told Sambrook he would go to prison for at least 14-months if he did not comply with the terms of the order.