Man sentenced for starting five fires in Stamford town centre

Recycling bags on fire outside Timpson in High Street, Stamford. Photo by Istvan Toth
Recycling bags on fire outside Timpson in High Street, Stamford. Photo by Istvan Toth
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A man who admitting starting five fires that caused more than £7,000 of damage to six shopfronts has been sentenced to 14 months in a young offenders institution.

Peter Cooke, 20, of Rock House Gardens, Stamford, pleaded guilty to five counts of arson and learned his punishment at Lincoln Crown Court yesterday (Monday).

Cooke, along with a 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, started five fires in Stamford town centre on May 17.

The fires caused £3,921 of damage to Hambleton Bakery and £690 to Blockbuster, both in Ironmonger Street, £1,270 to Timpson in High Street, £700 to Fine Foods and £431 to You and Beyond, both in St Mary’s Street, and £50 to AJ’s Cards in Chapel Yard, off North Street.

The 17-year-old was given a referral order by a youth court sitting at Grantham Magistrates’ Court on October 2.

Referral orders are given to young people aged 10 to 17 who plead guilty to offences punishable by imprisonment, provided they have not previously been convicted.

Anyone given a referral order must attend a youth offender panel, which includes two volunteers from the local community, which draws up a contract for the offender to sign. This can include reparation or restitution to their victim and activities to address their behaviour.

Once the contract is complete the conviction is classed as spent.

If the young person refuses to agree a contract they are sent back to court for re-sentencing.