Young woman set fire to boxes in Ipswich town centre

St Stephen's Church

The cardboard boxes were set on fire near St Stephen's Church - Credit: GOOGLE MAPS

A 21-year-old woman who set fire to some cardboard boxes near a church in Ipswich while she was banned from a section of the town centre has been handed a community order. 

Chelsea O'Connor appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday via prison video link to be sentenced for six separate offences and breaching a community protection notice. 

The offences of arson, possession of cocaine, resisting a police officer, and three counts of assaulting a police officer all took place during January of this year, Benedict Peers, prosecuting, told the court. 

On New Year's Day, O'Connor was told to move away from an incident when officers were dealing with another person, but she did not, Mr Peers said. 

She pushed and struck the left arm of an officer and was arrested, but continued to resist arrest, the court heard. 

In police interview, she told officers she didn't know why she hadn't moved away when asked. 

On January 3, police were called to an address in Ipswich and O'Connor was detained by officers. 

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When searched, she was found to have four wraps of cocaine, approximately 2g, on her. 

Following these incidents, O'Connor was handed a community protection notice, banning her from a part of Ipswich town centre, Mr Peers said. 

However, that order was breached on four occasions, including on January 18 around 3am when police were called to reports of some cardboard boxes on fire near St Stephen's Church in Ipswich. 

O'Connor was arrested and found in possession of a lighter, but said a homeless man had started the fire to keep warm. She later pleaded guilty to the offence. 

Two further assaults on police officers came on January 22 when O'Connor was under the influence of drink and drugs, the court heard. 

She pushed two officers to the chest and pushed a bin over, Mr Peers said. 

In police interview, O'Connor said she did not remember the incident. 

O'Connor, of Devonshire Road, Ipswich, who has previous convictions for assaulting police officers, is now going to live with her sister in Kent, the court heard. 

Craig Marchant, mitigating, said drink and drugs were the cause of his client's behaviour and she hoped that she would be able to put her previous issues behind her with a fresh start away from Ipswich. 

Recorder Douglas Edwards QC handed O'Connor an 18-month community order and made her subject to an electronic tag for six months. 

She was also ordered to complete 60 rehabilitation activity requirement days.