Tayside and Central Scotland

'Reckless' DIY power plant man jailed for 14 months

A man who rigged up a DIY power plant in a bedroom to power his home has been jailed.

Charles McKenzie had originally received a community payback order after admitting a charge of reckless conduct.

But he breached it by stealing electricity and metal and was jailed for 14 months.

McKenzie set up the system in his 14th floor Dundee flat after his electricity was cut off due to unpaid bills.

Sheriff George Way told McKenzie the DIY set-up, which included a generator suspended from his bedroom ceiling with ropes, amounted to "awesome recklessness".

Dundee Sheriff Court had heard how a neighbour in the flat below called police in the early hours of the morning in February 2012 because of a "strong smell" of petrol and the sound of drilling coming from upstairs.

Police and firefighters found McKenzie's flat, in Dudhope Court, filled with exhaust fumes containing deadly carbon monoxide gas from the generator, with McKenzie claiming he had "taken precautions" by opening a window.

'Unbelievably stupid'

They also found two cans of petrol sitting by the generator in the flat, where McKenzie regularly smoked.

McKenzie, 57, now of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, pleaded guilty to a charge of culpable and reckless conduct with total disregard for the safety of himself and others and to the danger of the lieges.

He also admitted two charges of stealing electricity.

Jailing McKenzie, Sheriff Way said: "You understand that this was an unbelievably stupid thing to do.

"You were given a chance despite the doubts I had against an offence of awesome recklessness. But after that you were stealing electricity again and going into places to steal."

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