Breaking Durham Easington Colliery

A man has been jailed for causing over £30,000 worth of damage to a Peterlee home following a disagreement over money

After an argument with the occupants in June 2019, Richard Pallister, of Bede Street, Easington Colliery, threatened to set fire to their house.

When they dismissed his threat and left to go to the pub, the couple received a phone call telling them that the house was ablaze.

The 36-year-old Pallister was arrested shortly after but denied the offence, despite being caught on CCTV leaving the house immediately prior to smoke billowing from inside.

Following a lengthy investigation, Pallister was charged with arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered, and pleaded guilty to the offence at Durham Crown Court last month.

He was handed a three year prison sentence, and ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge.

Also sentenced for arson last month was a 14-year-old boy from Peterlee charged with setting fire to a car in Shotton Colliery in October.

Local officers were able to identify the boy from CCTV footage that clearly showed him dousing the vehicle with accelerant.

Pleading guilty to the offence, he was given an eight month youth referral order.

Inspector Emma Kay, of Peterlee Neighbourhood Police Team, said: “The consequences of these attacks could have been fatal, and it is only by chance that the damage caused was material.

“I hope these convictions serve to reassure our community that we are actively tackling arson offences, and I would encourage anyone with information relating to the matter to make a report to Durham Police.”