Thornliebank fireraiser avoids jail

Hamilton sheriff court. Photo: John Devlin.
Hamilton sheriff court. Photo: John Devlin.

A Thornliebank man broke into the home of his former partner’s new boyfriend and set fire to it.

Luckily, there was no one in at the time and a police officer was able to put out the blaze before it got out of control.

Fraser Mitchell (25), of Woodfarm Road, Thornliebank, appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court today (Monday).

He admitted breaking into the flat in New Street, Stonehouse, and starting a fire on January 14 last year.

Callum Forsyth, prosecuting, said neighbours heard what sounded like a door being forced about 2am and called the police.

The fiscal explained: “Officers saw Mitchell coming down the stairs carrying a TV.

“They also noticed smoke emanating from a flat. One officer went upstairs and saw a fire in the living room. He got a fire extinguisher from the police car and put out the flames.

“Firefighters were called out too. I understand paper had been set on fire and this had spread to the carpet and couch.

“The householder, who was not present, was later reunited with his TV and a bluetooth speaker which was also found on the accused.”

Mr Forsyth said the cost of repairs and replacing furnishings was £1,300.

A defence agent said Mitchell was “in a bad place through drink and drugs” at the time of the break-in.

There had been an “element of provocation” as his ex’s new boyfriend had seen fit to phone him and make comments about the situation.

The solicitor added: “He has since sorted himself out and obtained full time employment.

“There has been a dramatic turnaround in his life and there is an extremely positive report from social workers.”

Sheriff Alasdair MacFadyen ordered Mitchell to do 220 hours of unpaid work within nine months as an alternative to prison.

He told the accused: “It’s a positive step that you recognise the gravity of the situation.

“Custody is clearly a starting point, but I’m persuaded by the positive terms of the report and the absence of offending since this incident to offer you an alternative.”

Mitchell will also be electronically tagged for four months, meaning he can’t leave his home between 7pm and 7am each day.