THE OWNER of a Kilnhurst pub said he was “majorly shocked” to learn a cannabis set-up had been found at the building following a large fire.
Macauley Gibb said the inside of The Ship Inn had been gutted by the blaze.
He denied reports the pub had been stood derelict and said there had been “active tenants”.
Fire crews were called to the scene at 4am last Thursday and spent three hours tackling the fire, which spread to two floors.
Police were called after an “abandoned cannabis growing set-up was found inside the building”, a force spokeswoman said.
The blaze at the Hooton Road pub, which closed the road for four hours, was initially recorded as deliberate by the fire service - but South Yorkshire Police said this week that had changed.
The fire service confirmed the fire was accidental and caused by an electrical fault.
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman added: “We don’t believe the fire was started deliberately and no cannabis was found at the premises, therefore our enquiries have concluded.”
No-one was arrested or interviewed in connection with the cannabis set-up discovery, she added.
Doncaster-based property developers Waterdale Business Group bought The Ship last year.
Last December, Mr Gibb and fellow director Kev North, confirmed they had taken over the pub two months earlier and had invested £20,000 on refurbishments and maintenance work.
“It's a community pub and we want to make it work,” Mr Gibb said at the time, adding that the pub was open daily.
Responding to the news that the former licensee had been prosecuted last year for environmental offences, Mr Gibb said he hoped The Ship would go from strength to strength once people’s confidence was restored.
He maintained following last Thursday’s fire that the pub had been in use, despite claims by the authorities it had been “disused”.
“It’s a major shock, he said. “We are only the landowners.
“The property was rented out at the start of this year.”
Mr Gibb said it would take some time to address the damage, adding: “I can’t see it being reopened this year.”
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