Man caused £1,500 damage after setting fire to drain cover

Ipswich Crown Court

Matthew Rampley appeared at Ipswich Crown Court for sentencing - Credit: Archant

A Stowmarket man who set light to a  drain cover outside his house causing £1,500 damage has been given a community order.

Matthew Rampley’s neighbours in Buzzard Rise, Stowmarket, saw him walking around outside his property talking to himself before coming out of his house with a power drill, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

They then heard him laughing to himself as he started drilling the drain cover and then saw him set light to the cover with tissues, vodka and deodorant spray , said Caroline Milroy, prosecuting.

“The neighbours heard him say he was burning away the s*** they had left,” said Miss Milroy.

The neighbours told Rampley to stop what he was doing and he had gone into his house and left them to try and put the fire out.

However, the fire had become worse when they put water on it and spread to an area of one square metre before being extinguished by firemen.

When Rampley was questioned about the fire, he said it was on his driveway and he could do what he wanted, said Miss Milroy.

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He also told officers that he had discharged himself from hospital earlier in the day and that he’d been drinking.

Rampley, 48, of Buzzard Rise, Stowmarket, pleaded guilty to  arson on June 10 this year. 

The court heard that in October he’d been fined for threatening to set fire to a neighbour’s car during an argument.

Sentencing Rampley to a 12-month community order with a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement, Judge David Pugh said: “This sort of behaviour, although it didn’t result on this occasion in serious harm, it can easily do so.”

He said the fact that Rampley had a previous conviction which involved him threatening to damage property was concerning.

Peter Spary, for Rampley, said his client had turned to drink after the break-up of his marriage and suffered from anxiety, depression and  schizophrenia.

He said Rampley had reduced his alcohol intake.