£7,500 of arson damage from ‘drunken escapade’

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A MAN who set fire to a pumping station and caused £7,500 damage was spared jail after a court accepted it was a “drunken escapade”.

James Busfield (21) admitted smashing his way into the drainage station in Tydd Gote with a house brick and starting three fires.

Lincoln Crown Court heard on Friday that Busfield caused damage to electric cables and the control panels after using piles of paper to start the blazes.

The former fork lift truck driver was traced after staff from the North Level District Industrial Drainage Board discovered the break-in and called in the police who found traces of his blood at the point of entry.

Andrew Scott, prosecuting, said as a result of the damage one of the pumps was found to be working when it should not have been on. The drainage board was also forced to employ security staff costing it an extra £2,500.

When he was arrested by police, Busfield said he had been drinking heavily and had no recollection of the break-in but accepted he must have been there.

David Eager, mitigating, told the court Busfield did not have a fixation with fire and was an otherwise likeable young man.

Mr Eager added: “This was a simple criminal damage. His only explanation is that he cannot control his drink.

“It is a shame because after leaving school following his GCSEs he has only signed on for six weeks until he was laid off last week.”

Busfield, of Kirkgate, Tydd St Giles, admitted a single charge of arson on 7 March this year.

He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months, ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and placed under the supervision of a probation officer for a 18 months.

Passing sentence, Recorder William Harbage QC accepted it was a “drunken escapade” but told Busfield: “There was huge potential here for danger to a large area of rural Lincolnshire.”