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Teenager avoids jail for burning down railway carriage

Teenager avoids jail for burning down caravans and railway carriage at East Somerset Railway, Cranmore

By Shepton Mallet Journal  |  Posted: July 01, 2014

 Teenager avoids jail for burning down caravans and railway carriage

THE careless tossing aside of his cigarette butt led to a teenager being handed a community order by the courts after he admitted an arson charge.

Dominic Coates was having a smoke with a friend in a derelict caravan on the East Somerset Railway when it was set alight from his smouldering cigarette.

Although he tried to put out the fire himself and then called for help when his efforts proved futile, he could not prevent the flames spreading to another caravan and a nearby railway carriage due for renovation.

The 19-year-old defendant, of Chamberlain Street, Wells, pleaded guilty to committing arson at Cranmore in that he destroyed by fire two caravans belonging to East Somerset Railway on July 7 last year.

Prosecutor Courtney Daley said the two caravans were derelict but often used by volunteers working at the railway site as shelter.

“Coates and his friend went to the area and went inside one of the caravans and started smoking,” she said.

“After finishing he threw his cigarette down on the floor which set fire to some waste paper that was all over the floor.

“They tried to put the fire out using a fire extinguisher however it spread to another caravan next to it and then onto a railway carriage.”

Other railway volunteers went to help and they saw two youths running from the scene but it was Coates himself who called the fire brigade for help.

Defending solicitor Ray Peters said that Coates had a very troubled youth and had been looked after by his grandparents from a young age who believed he had issues to address.

He said: “The main damage was the scorching of a railway carriage that was awaiting renovation and there was a value of around £6-800 put on that.

“When he realised there was a fire he attempted to put it out and tried to activate a fire extinguisher and then phoned the fire brigade.

“He had no intention of causing any damage whatsoever and is very sorry for what happened as he was a volunteer for the railway himself.”

He added that Coates had a passion for music and much of the work he did was on a voluntary basis.

The magistrates sentenced him to an 18 month community order with a requirement for supervision and to attend the Resolve probation programme.

He was also ordered to pay £200 compensation to East Somerset railway along with a £60 victim surcharge but no costs.

Read more: http://www.sheptonmalletjournal.co.uk/Teenager-avoids-jail-burning-caravans-railway/story-21309370-detail/story.html#ixzz36JViVtbc
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