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Campervan arsonist spared jail

An arsonist who torched a campervan and car has been spared jail after claiming he showed ‘genuine contrition’.

Andrew Abbott, 36, was facing a custodial sentence but got off lightly with a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years after claiming he was a ‘hardworking man’ and that he was ‘aghast’ at this own behaviour.

Moments later, he took to Facebook to post: “Thank f*** for that”.

The fires occurred between 10pm and 11pm on April 27 last year after Abbott had been drinking heavily with friends.

Maria Brannan, prosecuting, said: “Police became aware of two reports of cars being set alight on Longworth Road in Horwich.

“Darren Smethurst, who lives on Longworth Road, saw smoke rise from his window and looked outside the window to see his Vauxhall Transporter’s wing mirror on fire.

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“He began to fill up pans of water to put out the fire but not before the flames had burned the side of the van.

“The fire brigade turned up soon after.

“The other complainant Jason Kay had gone to bed after coming back from work but at around 10pm he was awoken by his son who knocked on his bedroom door. He told him his car was on fire.

“When Mr Kay looked out of his bedroom window he saw flames coming from the drivers side mirror.

“He ran downstairs to get his garden hose and promptly put out the fire.

“The fire brigade also turned up soon after and told him of a similar incident that had happened down the road.

“Eyewitness reports confirmed that the suspect was wearing an orange hi-vis jacket at the time of the offence.

“Mr Smethurst subsequently checked his Ring doorbell footage from the night.

“At 10:33 it showed the defendant standing in the front garden in a hi-vis jacket.

‘”When Mr Kay also checked his doorbell footage, he also saw the defendant.

“This time he was ducking under the wing mirror and then hid in the gardens when the fire was underway.

“Mr Smethurst was later able to quickly identify he defendant via social media and he was arrested four days later.

“In interview, the defendant made full admissions but said he had a patchy recollection of the night.

“He told police he had been drinking heavily that evening and did not know why he had started the fires.”

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