November 01, 2006 05:48pm
Article from: AAP
DRUG dealers are putting their lives at risk by stealing electricity to grow hydroponic crops, Queensland's Parliament has been told.
Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said today electricity theft was getting worse, with one drug grower dying after illegally trying to hook up power to his home.
He said in the past three weeks three growers had been caught, including one in north Queensland who used stolen electricity to cultivate one of the state's largest hydroponic drug crops.
Power company Ergon Energy has now appointed an inspector to head a program to tackle the problem.
"People who do this are not only endangering their own lives, but also putting the safety of others in the community at risk," Mr Wilson said.
It is estimated about 2 per cent of all electricity distributed and sold is stolen, amounting to about $30 million a year in Queensland.
Offenders face a fine of up to $75,000 or six months in jail.