Fire hoaxer duo ‘put lives at risk’

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Two men who put lives at risk when they made several hoax fire service call outs to flats in Preston have been sentenced.

Fire engines were repeatedly called out to the Lincoln House tower block off Avenham Lane, Avenham, in June.

Two to three engines attended on each occasion, Preston Magistrates Court heard.

Investigating officers found the glass in the fire safety points in the building had been broken on each occasion - even though there was no blaze - and a probe was launched by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.

Jonathan Palgrave, 31, of Bowland Road, Moor Nook, Preston, admitted two counts of causing a false alarm of fire relating to incidents on June 10 and 22.

The defendant, who had lived in the Avenham area at the time, was ordered to pay a £140 fine, £20 surcharge and £85 costs in a hearing in his absence.

His co-defendant Peter Robinson-Ashworth, 30, of Avenham Lane, admitted the same charges, relating to offences on June 22 and 23.

He received 12 months supervision and ws ordered to pay a £60 surcharge.

Today Watch Manager Paul Gardner, who attended Preston Magistrates’ Court as a witness, said: “ Each time, no fire was found, nor reported, therefore the incidents were treated as malicious.

“ Collective work by the response crews, fire safety enforcement officers, Lancashire Police and the management of the premises, along with CCTV evidence, resulted in today’s convictions.

“Fire appliances cannot be in two places at once. Fire appliances present an unnecessary risk to the public when rushing to attend such calls, and costs are incurred by the public to such actuations.

He added: “ The presiding magistrate gave Robinson-Ashworth a dressing down in open court for his actions.”