Youth worker who started £40,000 blaze in Barnoldswick office is jailed

First published in News by , Court reporter

A YOUTH worker who started a blaze in his own office which caused £40,000 in damage has been jailed for a year.

Burnley Crown Court heard how second-time arsonist Liam Wild, 22, had rented the premises in the Rainhalll Centre, 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, and then set a fire behind the fridge, hoping the 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 the damage took months to repair and the centre suffered losses 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 6.

John Woodward, defending, said Wild 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 added Wild didn't go out drinking anymore and lived a fairly quiet life.

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.

"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."

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