Firestarter’s revenge on social work
A serial firestarter torched a social work car in Wishaw after staff refused to give him money.
Hamilton Sheriff Court heard the flames spread to a ventilator unit but was brought under control before it could threaten a block of 20 flats.
Alan Beck admitted setting alight and destroying a £10,000 Toyota Yaris in Main Street, Wishaw, in the early hours of February 10 this year.
Beck (38), described as a prisoner at Addiewell, also admitted possession of a knife in Caledonian Road, Wishaw, on May 5.
The court heard he was jailed for 45 months in 2009 for setting fire to a number of homes in Cumbernauld.
Then i n 2012 he appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh where he admitted that, while out on early release, he started four fires in the same town, including one at Rannoch Lodge Nursing Home. He set fire to curtains in the care home which led to 43 elderly people being removed to safety. Luckily, there were no casualties.
Beck was sent to prison for four and a half years on that occasion.
Referring to the latest act of fireraising, Vish Kathuria, prosecuting, said Beck was seen on a pub’s CCTV to be under the influence of alcohol shortly before another camera captured him going into the car p a rk behind Nor t h Lanarkshire Council’s social work offices and adjacent flats.
Mr Kathuria told the court: “He was observed to walk in the direction of a bin shed.
“Slightly out of shot was a Toyota Yaris and a few minutes later, after Beck left the bin shed, smoke could be seen.
“Firefighters were called and they found the car on fire. Paper and cardboard had been taken from the bins, stuffed under the vehicle and set alight.
“The flames had spread to a ventilation unit above the vehicle, attached to the wall of the social work offices. However, the blaze was brought under control before it could spread to the building.
“A social worker identified Beck from the CCTV and explained he was a service user who had relied on the department for financial assistance.
“He had attended at the offices a week before this incident and had been refused money.
“That had angered him and might have been his motivation for this offence.”
Beck was detained in relation to the fire but was then released and a few months later was caught, again on CCTV, staggering near Wishaw town centre in the early hours with a kitchen knife that had a nine-inch blade.
Defence agent Nicky Matteo suggested Beck could benefit from psychiatric help.
Sheriff Daniel Kelly deferred until October 22 and Beck was again remanded in custody. Newmains student Ross Megahy was one of two Scots who picked up a medal forteam UK at the Euroskills Finals.
Held in Budapest and attended by more than 100,000 spectators, 21-year-old Ross fended off competition from Europe’s brightest to bag bronze in the mechanical engineering CAD competition.
Ross, who qualified at New College Lanarkshire and is now studying for a degree in product design and innovation at Strathclyde University, was delighted to bring home the award for himself and his country.
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To secure a place inteam UK, Ross was among the learners and apprentices who went through an exhaustive selection process, taking part in the prestigiousworldskills UK national competitions, the finals of which were held atworldskills UK LIVE.
Dr Neil Bentley, CEO ofworldskills UK, praised Ross and the rest of the UK medal winners for their amazing work ethic and achievement.
Mr Bentley said:“these brilliant young people – training and preparing them to be among the very best across Europe – are the UK’S new generation of high-flyers.
“Team members have made huge sacrifices in their lives training for years to reach the required standard – working hundreds of extra hours in their spare time forgoing holidays and nights out in the process.”
Delighted Ross Megahy celebrates his bronze medal