Man jailed for arson

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A SOUTH KIrkby man who set fire to an abandoned flat could have put lives at risk, a judge said.

David Jones, 20, of Burntwood Drive, and Nigel Lee, 18, of Salisbury Close, Scunthorpe, stole a microwave and later set fire to a flat on Hindon Walk, Scunthorpe, on July 5, 2011.

Grimsby Crown Court was told last week how the blaze spread across the flat and caused up to £32,000 worth of damage.

Both admitted arson, as well as a charge of burglary of a property on the basis that it was a non-dwelling.

But Judge Simon Jack told them that the fire could have been more serious.

He said: “All offences of this kind are serious as they represent a danger to life. The thought of what might have occurred if the fire had spread further is really quite frightening.”

Robert Stevenson, prosecuting, told the court that Lee and Jones were with a group of friends on July 5 and had gone to buy alcohol.

Jones, who was 19 at the time, suggested he wanted to burgle the boarded- up flat on Hindon Walk. All of the windows were boarded up, but they found an unboarded door and went in.

Jones entered the flat first, followed by Lee and they were in the flat a few minutes before they left with a microwave, the court heard. They went back to a friend’s house, where Jones took out his lighter and began flicking it. Jones said he wanted to go back to the property and set fire to it.

The court was told that Lee was against the idea, but they both later walked up to the flat before starting a fire inside. A neighbour was alerted to the fire after she saw smoke coming from the property.

Lee asked for three other offences to be taken into account – an arson of a car and two false alarms about fires.

Craig Lowe, mitigating for Jones, said he would find custody difficult as he had “family problems” and a history of self-harm.

Judge Jack said it was apparent that Jones had something of an obsession with fire.

Jones was sentenced to two years and three months in a young offenders institute for the arson and no penalty was given for the burglary.

Lee was given a 52-week sentence in a young offender’s institute, suspended for two years for the arson.

He was given a two-year a supervision requirement and must attend a thinking skills programme. There was no penalty for the burglary.