A MAN has admitted starting a series of fires, including one which ripped through South Oxfordshire
A MAN has admitted starting a series of fires, including one which ripped through South Oxfordshire District Council’s offices.
Andrew Main, 47, of Rokemarsh, near Benson, admitted four counts of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered when he appearing at Oxford Crown Court on Friday.
The charges relate to fires in the early hours of January 15 at the council’s headquarters in Crowmarsh Gifford, Howard Chadwick Funeral Service in Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, a house called Quakers Corner in Rokemarsh owned by Jean Gladstone, 80, and Rokemarsh Farm House, owned by Raymond Main.
Twenty-seven fire crews were called out to tackle the blazes. No one was hurt.
Main, who is the cousin of the district council’s planning committee chairman Felix Bloomfield, denied one count of arson with intent to endanger life at Miss Gladstone’s property.
The court heard he has mental health issues and a decision on whether to proceed with a trial on the fifth count would be made when he returns to court on May 29. Main was remanded in custody.
After the fires, the burnt-out wreckage of a car was found embedded in the front of the council offices and gas cylinders were found in the vehicle. The two-storey building was severely damaged and may have to be demolished. The 400 staff have been working from temporary offices but will begin moving into Milton Park, near Abingdon, later this month.