England

Shropshire firefighter admits being fire starter

A part-time firefighter has admitted plotting a series of blazes across Shropshire and Staffordshire.

David Pearson, 31, admitted conspiring to damage property by fire between 29 June 2014 and 3 September 2014.

He will be sentenced in the new year after psychiatric reports.

A colleague, 36-year-old Kingsley Tolley from Albrighton, also faced the charges but was found dead days before a previous court appearance.

Both Pearson and Mr Tolley, of Valian Road, were with Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Pearson, who was based at Minsterley fire station during the summer of 2014, was one of the first on the scene at arson attacks, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

The police automatic number plate recognition system and Pearson's mobile phone location put him in the vicinity of the fires before the emergency services were called.

Pearson, of Station Road, Pontesbury, Shropshire, was granted bail until his sentencing on 8 January, Shrewsbury Crown Court heard.

Emily Lenham, from West Midlands CPS, said: "Through his deliberate and callous actions David Pearson, a man entrusted by the fire service to protect the public from the dangers of fire, not only damaged property belonging to others but also placed his colleagues and the victims of the fires, some of whom were known to him, at risk of harm.

"It is evident that David Pearson gained personal satisfaction and enjoyment from setting the fires and causing damage to property which, given his position as a firefighter, presents a substantial breach of trust."

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