Teenage arsonist caused �500,000 damage

A teenager behind a string of fires in Great Yarmouth caused more than �500,000 of damage and put lives at risk, including forcing more than 100 people to leave their homes, a court was told.

A teenager behind a string of fires in Yarmouth caused more than �500,000 of damage and put lives at risk, including forcing more than 100 people to leave their homes, a court was told.

Steven Trudgill, 18, started a blaze at a workshop in Albert Road, Yarmouth, setting fire to a parked camper van.

The owner of the workshop, Bart de Saar, was asleep in the workshop when he was woken by the blaze which destroyed his premises as well as five vehicles and several giro planes, Norwich Crown Court was told.

Mr de Saar had still not received any insurance payout and had not been able to return to work.


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Malcolm Robins, prosecuting, said the workshop had been gutted along with the contents, adding that Mr de Saar had been left with 'virtually nothing, only the clothes on his back.'

Nearby homes also had to be evacuated and 100 people spent the night in the Marina Centre as a result of the fire last July 28.

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When arrested, Trudgill admitted he had cycled off on his bike after starting the blaze and had not stayed to watch what happened. He only learned the extent of the fire the next morning.

Trudgill, of Harbord Crescent, Yarmouth, admitted arson and asked for 12 other fires which he started in Yarmouth to be taken into consideration, including at Seletar, a company which serves the offshore industry, where �500,000 worth of damage was caused.

Mr Robins said there were 50 gas cylinders on the premises and firefighters feared there could be an explosion.

The court heard Trudgill had a previous conviction for arson in December 2007 when he set fire to an empty pub in Yarmouth.

Katharine Moore, in mitigation, said a psychiatric report showed no significant mental illness behind his offending or apparent motivation. But for his confessions, the other fires he told police about would have gone undetected. She said the fire at the workshop had also had a devastating effect on Trudgill's life and his family.

Judge Philip Curl adjourned sentence so he could have longer to study reports on Trudgill.

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