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Arsonist jailed over Digbeth market fire

An arsonist who started a major fire at Digbeth wholesale market has been jailed for five years following a West Midlands Police investigation.

Stephen Wilkinson was found guilty of sparking the blaze which took around 40 firefighters several hours to bring under control in August 2015.

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He was captured entering and then leaving the area where the fire started on CCTV; with the blaze, which damaged the fixtures and fittings in the market and destroyed stock in an adjoining unit starting just minutes later.

Fire investigations concluded it was believed to have been started deliberately and a police probe was launched.

Officers charged 60-year-old Wilkinson, of Mickleton Close, Redditch - who had worked at the market for a number of decades - with arson with intent to endanger life.

Despite the 60-year-old proclaiming his innocence he was convicted following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court earlier this month.

Judge Kristina Montgomery said that the motive is still unclear and the only logical explanation was one of petty revenge.

She accepted Wilkinson was genuinely sorry however the reckless action caused half a million pounds worth of damage and put firefighters’ lives at risk.
 

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