Arsonist who torched Burnley bar is jailed

JAILED: Anthony Parkinson (S)
JAILED: Anthony Parkinson (S)

A PROLIFIC crook who started a blaze at a Burnley business and then caused a £30,000 flood trying to put it out, is back behind bars.

The town’s crown court heard how ex-heroin addict Anthony Parkinson (42) who has almost 100 convictions and was already a convicted arsonist, was on licence, after being released early from a three-year jail term for burglary.

He had had a cocktail of drink and drugs before he began the “raging” fire at the large, three floor Hammerton House, in July last year. The building housed two ground floor bars, martial arts and boxing clubs, a gym and a caretaker’s flat and people were inside it at the time.

Parkinson was found in a corridor with a fire extinguisher by the caretaker and was said to have told a witness somebody had paid him to set a fire and he was just trying to earn a few quid.

The caretaker then found flames raging on the first floor, an area under refurbishment. The defendant had ripped out a sink and toilet cisterns, causing water to pour into the Barcode bar below and causing £30,000 worth of damage.

The defendant, of Hathaway Fold, Padiham, admitted arson and damage and was sent to prison for three years.

Judge Beverly Lunt told him he had caused “real and grave danger” to the people in the building. “You know you act unlawfully when you are under the influence of drink and drugs, but nothing has motivated you to stop doing that so far.”

Mr David Temkin (prosecuting) said the bars in the Hammerton Street premises were both occupied and one was hosting a party later that evening and people had begun to arrive to set it up.

The hearing was told Parkinson had owned up on the basis he had been withdrawing from drugs and had taken valium not prescribed for him and Special Brew.

Mr Kevin Saunders (defending) said the fire damage was minor. He told the court the fire was not pre-planned, there was no use of accelerants and no injury was caused.