Real Crisps Arsonist Jailed
A man has been jailed for more than six years after starting a fire which destroyed a crisp factory in Crumlin in September 2012.
Colin William Goulding, 31, from Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent, pleaded guilty to an arson charge after a fire at the Real Crisps plant in Caerphilly county.
Goulding, who the court heard has the intellectual capacity of a 14-year-old, threw his cigarette away in a hurry because he feared he was going to be caught smoking by his boss.
The lit cigarette landed in a pile of crisp packet wrappers starting a fire, which was fuelled by 60,000 litres of oil used to fry the crisps.
The flames engulfed the whole building in just 10 minutes.
Cardiff Crown Court heard it took more than 60 fire-fighters to tackle the blaze with 20 staff led to safety.
About 80 jobs were lost.
The factory's owners - Tayto - offered jobs at their plants in Ireland and England, but few took up the opportunity.
Sentencing him to six years and three months in prison Judge Philip Richards said: "It was reckless and I accept you didn't intend to cause the fire.
"The wholly exceptional circumstance is the amount of damage accompanied by the amount of loss suffered by the workforce and community by your acts.
"Nevertheless, this remains a serious case."
After the sentencing Crumlin councillor Keith Lloyd said he was disappointed by the length of the sentence.
"I expected a more severe sentence to be honest, given the seriousness of the offence," he told BBC Radio Wales.
"It's been pretty devastating for an area of high unemployment.
"I spoke to three people locally who worked there and fortunately they secured jobs but a lot of the employees were temporary and part-time.
| ||Collated by Philip Turnbull |
Registered Office: Southwold House, 66 Botley Road, Park Gate, Southampton, United Kingdom. Company Number: 07810000