Fire service welcomes prison sentences for arsonists behind Sandhill Park blaze
Fire chiefs have welcomed the prison sentences handed to four men found guilty of starting a blaze that severely damaged a Somerset stately home.
More than 50 firefighters and six fire engines spent nearly 12 hours battling the blaze at Sandhill Park at Bishops Lydeard, near Taunton, in November 2011.
At Taunton Crown Court last week, four men were jailed after pleading guilty to arson at a previous hearing.
Marcus Tancock, aged 20, of Tamar Road, Weston-super-Mare, was jailed for 27 months, Nathan Goldfinch, also 20, of Knightstone Road, Weston, was given 18 months, and 23-year-old Stuart Walter, of Slade Lane, Weston, was jailed for 12 months, while Liam Grant, aged 19, formerly of Cheddar, was given 21 months.
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Station manager Chris Hole, who investigated the Sandhill Park fire, said: "These sentences should act as a deterrent to anyone thinking of committing such a serious crime, that this type of behaviour is not acceptable and is a blight on society.
“Arson is a serious crime which doesn't only damage property. These fires often get completely out of control and members of the public and firefighters have been seriously injured, or even killed, as a result of arsonists.
“Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has a policy of investigating every fire.
"Our specialist fire investigation officers are well trained and work diligently with the police to examine the cause of fires and we will endeavour to prosecute anyone who commits arson.”