Revenge arsonist is jailed

PUBLISHED: 12:55 28 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:23 03 March 2010

BITTER farmworkers set fire to a barn after one of them was sacked from their job, a court heard.

BITTER farmworkers set fire to a barn after one of them was sacked from their job, a court heard.

The blaze caused £60,000 of damage, and was intended as a revenge attack against farmers, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Paul Liles, 21, and Kevin Newstead, 19, pleaded guilty to committing arson at a farm in Muttford in August 6 last year.

The court heard how Newstead had been sacked from working on a farm earlier that day.

The pair drove around looking to start a fire on a farm to get revenge. They used a scanner to listen in to police communication to minimise the risk of being caught.

Liles and Newstead set light to bales of straw in a Dutch barn, causing £60,000 of damage when a combine harvester and other machinery caught fire. They then sat in wait for the fire service to arrive to watch what happened and to listen to the action on the scanner.

Mr and Mrs Stone, who owned the farm, woke up in the early hours when they heard "repeated exploding noises" outside. They assumed it was fireworks until they looked outside and witnessed the flames coming from their barn.

Liles, of Parklands, Carlton Colville, was sent to prison for two years. He had previous convictions for burglary and possession of drugs.

Newstead, of Hall Farm Cottages, Benacre, had no previous convictions, but was sent to a young offenders' institute for 18 months.

Newstead, who has never been to prison, sobbed in the dock as Judge Nicholas Beddard passed sentence.

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