Three Bridges arson attack caused £61k damage

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An arsonist who caused £61,000 damage to coaches in Three Bridges was given a deferred sentence this week.

Jamie Huxley, 24, of Worcester Walk, Ellesmere Port, appeared at Hove Trial Centre on Friday. He had pleaded guilty to arson at a previous hearing.

The court heard that a coach was set alight near to Crawley Luxury Coaches depot in Stephenson Way on January 24 last year.

Staff at nearby Crawley Open House - where Huxley was staying at the time - noticed the smoke at 9.35pm and called firefighters.

One coach was written off, while another parked nearby was damaged by the heat

Investigators found that the fire had started in the luggage compartment. Huxley was identified through a DNA test on blood found on the compartment’s latch.

Alex Lloyd, representing Huxley, said he had been home less at the time and going through a ‘very difficult time in his life’.

Judge Guy Anthony told him: “Lots of people have problems. They don’t all go around causing £61,000 worth of damage, do they?”

Mr Lloyd said that his client now has a full time job and will soon have a chance to move into his own rented accommodation, both of which would be lost if he was sent to prison.

Judge Anthony told Huxley: “This may have been your first offence, but not many people start their criminal career by setting fire to something which clearly has the capacity to spread, causing enormous damage or injury or worse.”

He said he would defer sentence until February next year, giving Huxley the chance to prove that he could stay out of trouble.

Judge Anthony added that if Huxley still has a job and some savings, and has no more criminal convictions by that date, he would be able to consider giving Huxley a suspended sentence.

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