Bristol cannabis oil maker found guilty of flats explosion

  • Published
James Toogood arriving at Bristol Crown Court
Image caption,
James Toogood was trying to cook up cannabis at his girlfriend's flat

A man who tried to cook cannabis in his girlfriend's kitchen has been found guilty of causing an explosion which blew up a block of flats in Bristol.

James Toogood was using butane to make a powerful cannabis derivative known as "shatter", Bristol Crown Court heard.

About £260,000 worth of damage was caused by the blast, which ripped off the side of the building.

He was found guilty of damaging property being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

Toogood, who has 14 previous convictions including robbery, will be remanded in custody until sentencing on Monday.

The court heard the explosion was caused as Toogood cooked up the drug at the flat on Whitchurch Lane, Hartcliffe, on 23 February 2019.

Police later retrieved a beer crate and glass bowl, both containing cannabis matter, from the flat.

Image caption,
One woman escaped the burning building by jumping from an upper floor on to a trampoline

Other items seized included a large number of butane cans, one of which had Mr Toogood's fingerprint on, and a saucepan and metal steamer with traces of THC - a crystalline compound that is the main active ingredient of cannabis.

Mr Toogood, of Currells Lane, Felton, admitted one charge of producing a class B drug - cannabis oil - but he said he was not doing so when the explosion happened.

His partner Laura Hawkins wept after being found guilty of permitting premises to be used for producing a controlled drug of Class B.

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