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Man jailed for deliberately starting fire outside neighbours’ house after dispute

Stephen Amesbury

A man from Weston-super-Mare who started a fire outside his neighbours’ home following a dispute has been jailed.

Stephen Amesbury pleaded guilty to one count of arson after turning off his CCTV cameras overlooking the neighbours’ property before setting a wheelie bin on fire at about 1.30am on 9 February 2020.

Fortunately some of the occupants of the property in Downside Road were awake and heard a large bang. They were able to extinguish the fire safely before calling the emergency services.

A police investigation revealed Amesbury’s CCTV cameras had been switched off. However, other cameras showed the 58-year-old moving the bin into position and collecting material to start the fire.

Amesbury pleaded guilty at a hearing in May and was handed a 21-month sentence at Bristol Crown Court yesterday (Thursday 1 July).

DC Dave Allan said: “This was an extremely dangerous act whereby the consequences of the fire could have been catastrophic and ultimately lives could have been put at risk.

“A child was asleep at the time and it’s fortunate people were awake and able to act quickly.”

He continued: “Amesbury tried to bully and intimidate his neighbours by carrying out this pre-meditated crime and has rightly ended up with a prison sentence.

“It’s important to highlight the courage shown by the victims of this throughout this investigation. No-one should feel afraid inside their own home and their support for our enquiries has led to this conviction.

“Officers will do all they can to protect people’s communities and I hope this result shows the robust action we take against dangerous offenders.”