Man appears in court over Richmond arson attacks

A fireman tackles the fire which destroyed the bench. Photo: Dereck King.

A man has appeared in court charged with arson following a spate of incidents in Richmond last year.

John George Ridley, of Alma Place, Richmond, appeared at Northallerton Magistrates’ Court last week where he faced five counts of arson in the Richmond area.

The incidents all occurred in May and June last year.

He pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay £1,200 to Richmondshire District Council and told to adhere to a curfew with electronic monitoring for five months. 

He was also told to carry out unpaid work for 300 hours within the next 12 months.

PC Mike McVay, from Richmond police station, carried out the investigation into the arson incidents.

He said: “These crimes were very impactive on the local community and the sentence given shows the seriousness of the offences.”

Inspector Mark Gee, Richmondshire neighbourhood inspector, added: “We are pleased with the result at court and are grateful for the assistance of members of the community during this investigation.

“As well as public assets, benches are often dedicated or paid for in tribute to loved one and their destruction can be very distressing.”

A number of incidents occurred last year in the Richmond area, including benches and signs being set on fire.

In one incident a bench and notice board in Slee Gill were destroyed in a deliberate blaze.

Photo: Dereck King.

The other incidents occurred at Roundhowe, Aske Hall, Rimington Avenue and Whashton Road.