Man torched two camper vans on New Year’s Day in Ipswich

Billy Parker, who was jailed for four years for arson after torching two caravans at Ipswich. PHOTO:

Billy Parker, who was jailed for four years for arson after torching two caravans at Ipswich. PHOTO: Suffolk Police - Credit: Archant

A man with a history of starting fires has been branded a danger to the public after he set light to two camper vans in Ipswich.

Jailing 55-year-old Billy Parker for four years, Judge Emma Peters said that for some inexplicable reason he had set light to the camper vans in Hadleigh Road in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

She said Parker had tried three times to get a fire started on a Fiat camper van using an accelerant before it caught fire and 45 minutes later he was seen setting light to a Bedford camper van.

She said one of the camper vans contained two gas bottles and was parked close to a house and other vehicles.

“It had a warning sign on it making it clear that there were hazardous substances in the van. If it had exploded it could have caused a significant amount of damage and a real risk to those in nearby buildings,” said the judge.

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Parker, 55, of no fixed address, admitted arson being reckless as to whether a motor home would be damaged or destroyed by fire and arson to a camper van being reckless as to whether life would be endangered.

He was jailed for four years and given an extended licence period of four years after Judge Peters described Parker as dangerous and said he posed a significant risk of causing serious harm by the commission of further serious offences in the future.

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She said Parker would have to serve at least two thirds of the sentence before he could be considered for release by the parole board.

The charges relate to two fires that took place on Monday, January 1 in Hadleigh Road, Ipswich.

The fires destroyed two camper vans, one in Hadleigh Road itself and one that was parked on a nearby business park, to the value of £2,500 and £4,500.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that he was jailed for two offences of arson in August 2008 and jailed for six years for three more offences in October 2011.

Neil Saunders for Parker said his client had ended up living in a van after being released from prison and drank and used drugs.

“He can give me no reason why he does what he does and just starts fires,” said Mr Saunders.

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