A man who set off a firework starting one of the largest blazes in Nottingham’s history resulting in businesses being burnt to the ground has been sentenced.
George Campbell let off fireworks at the historic Cattle Market but one of the rockets he fired went under the shutter of one of the properties where it then ignited. The fire then quickly spread to adjacent industrial units as it ripped through the site.
More than nine businesses were significantly damaged. Two were completely destroyed, including their stock, others suffered severe roof damage and reptiles had to be evacuated from another of the affected businesses.
The devastating fire broke out at the Meadow Lane site at around 5.40pm on 4 November 2018.
Campbell, from Alexandra Avenue, Mansfield, pleaded guilty to a charge of arson and was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday (26 October 2021).
The judge accepted the 20-year-old had no idea he had started a fire by letting off the rocket but his actions were reckless.
Campbell was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
Detective Sergeant Andy Buxton, from Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Campbell admitted at an early stage that he had fired the rocket.
“Although the judge accepted he couldn’t have known he had started a fire at that stage, to recklessly let off fireworks as he did is extremely dangerous and in this instance was almost guaranteed to cause serious damage.
“Our priority is to keep people and property safe. Fireworks being used in an dangerous manner will not be tolerated and offenders will be dealt with robustly by police.
“You should never throw or set off a firework in the street, onto a road or in a public place. This could easily lead to serious injury or worse if someone gets hit by one.
“As Bonfire Night draws closer I would urge people to act responsibly, respect their neighbours and make sure they stay safe while enjoying themselves.
“We will be patrolling and working with partners to tackle any reports of antisocial behaviour and helping to ensure people can enjoy Bonfire Night safely.”
Fire Investigation Manager Lucie Poxon added: “After inspecting the scene shortly after the incident occurred it became apparent the cause of the fire was ignition to combustible items within a business which then spread to various industrial units.
“We want this incident to become a lesson for those using fireworks this year.
“It is always better to go to organised firework displays however if you are using fireworks, please ensure you use them away from people, houses and flammable materials.
“Respect those around you this Bonfire Night and please enjoy fireworks safely.”