A HOMELESS man said he was so drunk he could not remember setting fire to a florist’s shop and burning the building down — causing up to £225,000 worth of damage.
Danny White (59), of Chantry Place, Kiveton Park torched Limelands Florist on Laughton Road, Dinnington.
He was jailed for two years and six months at Sheffield Crown Court last Wednesday (13).
Firefighters were called to the building at about 4.10am on April 20, 2019, Mr Craig Lowe, prosecuting, told the court.
They concluded that the fire had been sparked by someone lighting paper and rubbish outside the building.
The fire spread up the walls of the building to the roof, Mr Lowe said.
The blaze caused extensive damage, destroying the roof and damaging the walls, fixtures and fittings beyond repair.
The repair costs were estimated to be between £180,000 and £225,000, Mr Lowe said.
The prosecutor said the fire had caused the building’s owner a lot of stress and he had needed to increase his blood pressure medication as a result.
His insurance company had not paid out and he had lost £18,500 in rent payments.
White also started a fire outside nearby Adam’s Cafe on the same night, Mr Lowe said.
A staff member at the café said someone had set fire to a bin outside and it had caused damage to the café’s sign, which cost about £200 to repair.
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White was identified as the culprit after police shared CCTV of him near the scene at 2.31am, Mr Lowe said.
He had pleaded guilty to two counts of arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered, at Sheffield Crown Court on October 5.
Mitigating, Ms Joy Merriam, said White was remorseful for his actions.
She said White’s life had completely spiralled out of control at the time of the offence.
He had begun living rough in 2017 and by the time of the offence he had developed a serious illness which required hospital treatment.
Ms Merriam said the arson attack had been a catastrophic event in his life.
“He was so under the influence [of alcohol] that he’s always said he can’t remember anything about these offences,” she said.
Judge Rachael Harrison said: “You had made yourself homeless and were drinking to excess.
“I accept you are sorry for what you did.
“Arson is always a serious offence.”
Judge Harrison said White had put anyone who could have been inside the properties or nearby at risk.
“You were clearly reckless as to whether lives would be endangered,” she said.