“Mind-boggling stupidity” - suspended sentences for men who accidentally started £1.6m blaze with prank
- Credit: Archant
Two bored shop workers who caused a devastating £1.6 million fire at a Bury St Edmunds cycle shop while trying to cremate a mouse in a cardboard box have been given suspended prison sentences.
Dysney Sibbons and Ashley Finley were "trying to amuse themselves on a boring day" when they used an accelerant to burn the rodent in a store room, Ipswich Crown Court was told.
The pair thought they had extinguished the fire and went back to the front of the Cycle King shop in Angel Hill.
However, shortly afterwards they realised the store room was alight and after doing their best to put it out ran into the burning building in a desperate bid to remove as much stock as they could, said Christopher Wing, prosecuting.
He said the men had to be stopped by fire officers from going back into the building and Finley had admitted what they had done.
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Sentencing the pair today (Thursday July 25) Judge David Pugh accused them "mind-boggling stupidity" and said there had been a " clear and obvious" risk.
Sibbons, 23, of Elmsett Close, Stowmarket, and Finley, 25, of Borley Crescent, Elmswell, admitted arson being reckless as to whether property would be damaged.
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They were each given an eight month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to do 280 hours unpaid work.
They were also ordered to pay £1,500 prosecution costs.
Emergency services were called to the fire at around 5pm on September 29, 2017.
The blaze ripped through the building, leaving it completely destroyed, before spreading to the nearby One Bull pub and Francela restaurant, causing extensive smoke damage to the buildings.
A dozen fire engines and more than 60 firefighters were sent to fight the flames. Fire crews finally called a stop to the incident at around midnight.
Steven Dyble, for Finley, said his client hadn't anticipated the catastrophic consequences of the prank.
He said Finley had worked at the cycle shop for three-and-a half months and had lost his job and his previous good character as a result of the "catastrophic" fire.
Stephen Mather, for Sibbons said his client had suffered from anxiety and depression since the incident and was remorseful for what happened.