Two sentenced for arson attacks causing £1million in damage
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Joshua Brinkley has been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment
Two men who deliberately started fires across Sussex causing more than £1million in damage have been sentenced.
Joshua Brinkley, 20, of Southfield, Polegate, and Connor Luck, 21, of School Lane, Blackboys, set abandoned buildings, agricultural barns, farmland and haybales alight, causing extensive damage and disruption.
The estimated value of the total damage they caused was £1,117,825.
Two large barns were set on fire in Tarring Neville
Lewes Crown Court on Monday 30 October heard that at 10.27pm on Friday 26 June 2021, police were called by West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to a large fire at a derelict property in Broadwater Lane, Horsham.
On Thursday 8 July 2021, at 3.39am, police were alerted by East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to a large fire at a derelict property in Wivelsfield Green where eight fire engines were in attendance.
At 7.23am on Sunday 29 August 2021, police were contacted by East Sussex Fire and Rescue to a large deliberate fire at two outbuildings in Lower Willingdon that contained cylinders and farm machinery.
On Tuesday 2 November 2021, at 2.54am, police assisted East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service with a large fire in a barn on farmland off the A26 at Beddingham.
At 4.32am on Thursday 4 November 2021, police were called to assist East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service with road closures following a hay bale fire at a vineyard in Rathfinny, Alfriston.
On Saturday 6 November 2021, at 10.49pm, police attended two large barns on fire in Tarring Neville with smoke going into the A26.
At 4.04am on Sunday 7 November, police were contacted by East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to a report of a silver Vauxhall Corsa being on fire in Lewes Road, Ringmer.
The devastation from the fires in Tarring Neville
And at 5.28am on the same day, police assisted the fire service with a road closure following a large fire involving haybales within a field in Litlington Road, Seaford.
Investigations into each of the fires were carried out by officers and the causes were confirmed as arson.
Following enquiries, Brinkley was arrested and charged with seven counts of arson and Luck was arrested and charged with two counts of arson.
At Lewes Crown Court on Monday 30 October, Brinkley was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing.
Luck, who also pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 21 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years. He was ordered to undertake 200 hours unpaid work and 25 rehabilitation days and will be on an electronically monitored curfew between 8pam and 6am for three months.
Both were ordered to pay a victim surcharge.
A 19-year-old man from Polegate was also arrested and charged with one count of arson, however no evidence was offered and a not guilty verdict was recorded.
The damage from the fires in Tarring Neville
Detective Constable Emma Arthur-Devennie said: “These arsons were committed with no consideration given to the devastating impact that they would have on the property owners and farmers. The farmers lost a whole season’s worth of feed and bedding for the animals.
“The arsons were not targeted, but simply for Brinkley and Luck’s own amusement. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured but their actions could have resulted in a far more tragic outcome.
“I welcome these sentences and I hope they demonstrate that reckless behaviour will not be tolerated in our local communities, and we will continue to work hard to keep Sussex safe.”
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “The actions of the two offenders have been rightly condemned as senseless and hugely dangerous and it’s a miracle that nobody was seriously injured.
“These reckless arsonists left hard working families facing over £1million in damaged property and resulted in hours of emergency service time being used to tackle blazing buildings and vehicles. I hope this sends a message to criminals who think that there are areas of our county where you won’t get caught.”