Loanhead firestarter ordered to carry out community service

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A cash-strapped motor cycle dealer, who set fire to his own premises causing £50,000 of damage to the building and 15 valuable bikes, has been ordered to carry out 225 hours of unpaid work in the community within 18 months.

The dealer, 45-year old Ian Murray of St Albans Road, Edinburgh, had pled guilty previously at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to a charge of wilful fire-raising at Ian Murray Motorcycles, in the Bilston Glen Industrial Estate, Loanhead, on October 22, 2017. He has also been placed on a Restriction of Liberty Order confining him to his home between 8pm and 6am every day for nine months.

Sheriff Michael O’Grady QC had heard that the Fire Service were called to the area around 7pm and forced open the wooden front door, which had been locked. There were two fires, one on the upper level of the building and one on the ground floor,which they extinguished. They then contacted the police, who found two motor cycles, a BMW and a Yamaha, had been placed on their sides with the Yamaha’s fuel cap removed, cardboard boxes placed around it and deliberately set on fire.

Murray was contacted and arrived at the premises at around 10.15pm. He told the Fire officers he had been at the premises earlier and had started the engine of one of the bikes to establish it was working, switched it off and left the premises, setting the fire alarm. It was found the alarm had been set at 7.24pm and the alarm had gone off at 7.26pm. CCTV footage showed Murray leaving the premises. He later contacted his insurance company.

In court today (June 21) Sheriff O’Grady told Murray: “In my view this was a very serious offence. The nature of it was, in many ways, concerning. At first thought, a custodial sentence seemed inevitable”.

Sheriff O’Grady said, however, that Murray must understand that any sentence imposed would be robust.