Bomb hoaxer turned bin arsonist jailed for six months

Posted On 02 Dec 2020 at 4:52 pm

A serial bomb hoaxer has been jailed after he escalated to setting fires in a string of bin arsons around Brighton this week.

Mark Wilkinson, 48, was previously spared jail for putting on an Irish accent when drunk and calling police to say he had planted bombs all over Brighton last July.

Today, he admitted three counts of arson and ten more false police calls – just days after he last appeared at court for wasting police time in Crawley.

At Crawley Magistrates Court on November 10, he was given a suspended sentence – but today, he was sent straight to prison.

He was jailed for six months for each arson offence, to run concurrently. No separate penalty was given for the false police calls.

Wilkinson, of Brighton Road, Crawley, was also ordered to pay a total of £1,943 to Brighton and Hove City Council.

Detective Inspector Glenn Taylor said: “Deliberately starting fires is extremely dangerous and it is fortunate that nobody was hurt as a result of these incidents.

“Wilkinson caused multiple fires in busy areas with no regard for the safety and welfare of the local community which is completely unacceptable.

“We are pleased the courts have acknowledged the seriousness of these offences by jailing him for six months.”

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service were called out a total of six times to seven different bin blazes from 9pm on Sunday until 4am on Monday.

They included Upper North Street, Oriental Place, St James Street, Dorset Gardens, St James Avenue, Steine Street and Ship Street.

More incidents were reported around 11.30pm on Monday (30 November) in the St James Avenue area.

Wilkinson pleaded guilty to setting fire to bins in St Mark’s Place, St James’s Avenue and Ardingly Court.

Fire crews attended and the fires were extinguished. No damage was caused except to the bins themselves and no injuries were reported.

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