Tayside and Central Scotland

Charles McKenzie's DIY power plant in Dundee 'could have killed'

Charles McKenzie
Image caption Charles McKenzie suspended a generator from a ceiling using ropes

A man who rigged up a home-made power plant in his flat could have killed himself and his neighbours, Dundee Sheriff Court has heard.

Charles McKenzie, 55, from Dundee, suspended a generator from the ceiling of his bedroom after his electricity supply was cut off.

The emergency services were alerted after a neighbour reported the sound of drilling and smelling petrol.

McKenzie has admitted a charge of culpable and reckless conduct.

Sheriff Elizabeth Munro said the venture could have proved fatal.

Fiscal depute Lynne Mannion told the court that McKenzie's power was cut off in February last year.

She said that in the early hours of 28 August 2012 the police and fire service were contacted by a neighbour who had heard drilling and could smell petrol from McKenzie's 14th-floor flat.

Car battery

Ms Mannion said: "Three fire appliances went and on approach there was a strong smell of petrol.

"There was a strong smell of fumes throughout the flat.

"In a bedroom there was a generator suspended by thin ropes.

"It was connected to a transformer and a car battery with an extension lead running to the living room. There were two cans of petrol beside the generator."

She said the emergency services noted that McKenzie was a smoker which increased the risk of an accident.

Defence solicitor Lee Qumsieh said: "At the time he simply didn't appreciate there was a risk - he now accepts there was one present.

"It wasn't designed to be a long-term solution.

"He had taken precautions at the time that he thought were appropriate - he had secured the generator to the ceiling and opened a large window.

"He will never repeat this again."

Sheriff Elizabeth Munro deferred sentence until October for the case to call alongside another charge that McKenzie earlier admitted.

She said: "Thank goodness the neighbour alerted police - he could have killed himself or the neighbours.

"Could he not have just paid his electricity bill rather than going to this extent?"

The sheriff added: "You are getting too old to be appearing in the sheriff court on this kind of nonsense."

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