Storm reveals cannabis farm

Some of the marble-size hailstones that fell on Tuesday night
Some of the marble-size hailstones that fell on Tuesday night

LIGHTNING hit a shed in Wigan – and uncovered a cannabis farm!

The outhouse in Christopher Street, Higher Ince, was struck and set alight in Tuesday night’s storm.

But when firefighters were called to the scene, they discovered what they believed were the remains of a cannabis farm which had already been dismantled in the garden shed and the nearby garage.

A police spokesman confirmed that the fire service had called them upon the discovery but said that as any evidence had been removed prior to the blaze, they could not investigate any further.

The property was unoccupied when fire crews and police arrived at the scene.

Neighbouring properties were also affected, with many residents witnessing the drama unfold.

Naomi Carruthers, 29, who lives opposite the house which had been struck, said: “We were just sat in the front room, watching the thunder and lightning, and then it just sparked.

“We thought it had hit the telegraph pole and that the roof of the house across the road was on fire, but it was just the fence and shed.

“One of our neighbours saw the storm twirl in the middle of the street and bounce down.”

Her friend, Chloe Dempsey, 18, who was with her at the time, said: “A few houses down the street have been affected as sockets have blown up.

“There was a big bang and the lightning bounced off all the cars on the street.

“It was quite scary.”

Meanwhile, half an hour later, the roof of a detached house on the corner of Derbyshire Road and Aldwyn Close, in Winstanley, was blasted by lightning, leaving a hole around two square metres.

The owner of the four-bedroomed home was in with his partner and two children when crews attended, but no-one was hurt.

There was evidence of burning to the roof trusses and fabric felt underneath the roof tiles, but the damage was confined to the roof space and the fire was out on the crews’ arrival.

Firefighters from Hindley and a Wigan stand-by crew from Bolton attended.

Crew manager Craig Cubbins said: “They have been quite lucky as the damage is very limited, although the electrics have been affected as the lightning makes its way down through the cables.

“We went round inspecting the property for the owner and used a thermal imaging camera in the loft to make sure there was no sign of fire.”

Residents today spoke of their ordeal after the storm blew out the electrics on a number of properties.

Kathryn Smith, 42, said: “Our whole close was affected, but the house on the corner was the worse off. “They may have stayed somewhere else overnight as the roof was exposed. It was bucketing it down - there was no way they could sleep like that. I real feel for them - they got the brunt of it.

“The whole house shook - it was frightening.

“Our phone socket and internal sockets were blown. I am just glad no-one got hurt and everyone was alright as it could have been a lot worse.”

Sandra Morris, 60, was babysitting her young granddaughter when the storm hit the street.

She said: “We felt the sparks in the plugs - it was quite frightening really.

“I have never seen it that bad before. It lit the room up.”

Rachel Dickinson, 40, said: “The lightning went straight across the sky. It blew our BT phone point and blew sparks.

“My two-year-old daughter was crying as she was watching it and it really scared her.”