Fire fighter pleads guilty to arson

11/11/2015

A fire fighter, who deliberately set a series of fires around Shropshire and Staffordshire has today pleaded guilty at Shrewsbury Crown Court of conspiracy to cause damage to property by fire.

David Pearson, 31, was employed as a retained fire fighter with Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service and based at the Minsterley fire station during the summer of 2014. As a retained fire fighter he was required at various times to be on call for the service and attend the fire station when requested to deal with any emergencies.

Between 1 July 2014 and 2 September 2014, there were a high number of arson attacks on cars and property in the Shropshire and Staffordshire areas and during this period Pearson was regularly one of the first fire-fighters in attendance.

Following an investigation by the fire service into the arson attacks and Pearson's actions, the police were contacted and the defendant was arrested.

During the police investigation data from the defendant's mobile phone and information obtained from the ANPR system showed that Pearson was in the vicinity of the fires prior to the emergency services being called out.

The defendant was arrested and today pleaded guilty to conspiracy to set fires to property belonging to others. He will be sentenced on 8 January 2016.

Emily Lenham, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said:

"Through his deliberate and callous actions David Pearson, a man entrusted by the fire service to protect the public from the dangers of fire, not only damaged property belonging to others but also placed his colleagues and the victims of the fires, some of whom were known to him, at risk of harm.

"The offences are further aggravated by the demand his actions placed upon the fire service; representatives of which were required to attend, extinguish and investigate each of the fires that he had set.

"It is evident that David Pearson gained personal satisfaction and enjoyment from setting the fires and causing damage to property which, given his position as a fire-fighter, represents a substantial breach of trust."