A YOUTH worker who torched his office in the early hours and caused a £40,000 blaze, has been jailed for a year.
Burnley Crown Court heard how second-time arsonist Liam Wild, 22, had rented the premises in the Rain Hill Centre, at Barnoldswick, intending to set up a business as an insurance broker.
The business never took off and when Wild had been drinking, he went to his office, after removing anything of value beforehand. He then set a fire behind the fridge, hoping the resulting blaze would be attributed to a wiring fault.
The defendant had not been insured, claimed he was not fascinated with fire and mystery surrounded just why he did it, the court heard.
The hearing was told an extensive fire occurred, the damage took months to put right and the centre suffered losses to the tune of more than £40,000.
Wild already had an offence of arson on his record, had been given a conditional discharge and had struck again within four months of it running out. The defendant, of Gordale Road, Barnoldswick, had admitted arson, last December 6th.
John Woodward, defending, said Wild deserved a last chance, albeit by the skin of his teeth. He was still immature and needed guidance and if he was sent to custody, he might be bullied, or more sinisterly, others might take him under their wing and expose him to greater criminal activity.
Mr Woodward urged the court to pass a suspended sentence and said if the defendant received such a sentence and succeeded on supervision, it would benefit not only him, but also society as well.
The barrister added: “Nobody can see into the future clearly, but the court will be concerned no doubt as to whether or not he will commit further offences in the future. He has been assessed as somebody who has learned his lesson.”
Mr Woodward added Wild didn’t go out drinking anymore and lived a fairly quiet life. The barrister added: “He is terrified, clearly, of any custodial sentence.”
Sentencing, Recorder Andrew Long, who had read a psychiatric report on Wild, said he was not mentally ill.
The judge told the defendant: “You claim not to have a fascination for fires. You were not insured at the time and therefore any motive for carrying out this attack remains unknown. Unless you come to terms with what you did and why,there is a real risk you may do it again.”
Recorder Long added: “It was intentional, with a degree of pre-planning, there was considerable damage and a real risk of fire spreading to other parts of the building.”
The judge told Wild: “In my view, a supervision order as recommended does not do enough to protect the public from you in the future.”