Bonfire night fire bug sentenced

A MAN who threw a firework into a Kirklees Council van on bonfire night has been sentenced at Leeds Crown Court.

The court heard how ‘immature’ Anton Lee Copperwaite smashed the window of the council van before throwing a firework inside. The van, which was parked in Orlando Close, London Park, Mirfield, caught fire, causing £15,000 damage. The van was a write-off.

Judge Peter Collier said Copperwaite, who was found guilty of arson at a trial last month, had a history of anti-social behaviour and had been dealt with in a variety of ways but never sent to prison.

At a previous hearing the court heard that the council worker who was using the van was fixing a smashed window nearby. He heard the noise of the firework, but as it was bonfire night did not think it was suspicious. He then heard people shouting and saw his van was on fire.

Copperwaite, 18, of Calder Road, Ravensthorpe, was arrested after a witness reported the fire to police. He still maintained his innocence, even at sentencing.

Sentencing last Friday, Judge Collier said: “The pre-sentence report indicates that you don’t accept anything you have done.

“I see there are few mitigating factors arising from your apparent immaturity.

“Taking all of these matters into account, the sentence I can pass is 18 months at a young offenders institution. You will serve half of that.”