Serial arsonist is jailed for five years

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A PYROMANIAC with a fascination for starting fires has been locked up indefinitely for the protection of the public after setting three blazes including one which caused £26,000 of damage to a South Yorkshire school.

James Wrzos, aged 22, was spotted hiding behind a tree, filming one of the fires on his mobile telephone, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Jailing him for two counts of arson and one of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered, Judge Peter Kelson QC said: “You are an arsonist, you are a pyromaniac and you have a fascination with fire and a complete disregard for the safety of people who might be injured if not killed by the fires you cause.”

The court heard Wrzos set the fires just a few months after he was released for a previous arson attack on the Star Inn in Mexborough.

In that incident he had used turpentine to set fire to the front door of the pub, as landlord Desmond Smith, his wife and three children slept in a bedroom. Fortunately nobody was injured.

Craig Lowe, prosecuting, said in the first attack Wrzos torched a garden shed in Addison Road, Mexborough, in the early hours of the morning.

Just hours later, Wrzos pushed a wheelie bin up against the window of a sheltered housing complex in Conniston Court, Mexborough, and set it alight, terrifying two vulnerable residents asleep inside.

Moments later a fire broke out at Windhill Primary School, 30 yards away.

Jailing him for a minimum of five years, Judge Kelson said: “You clearly pose a danger to the safety of the public.”