Arsonist banned from going to Great Yarmouth after shopping centre fire

The Market Gates shopping centre in Great Yarmouth. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Mark Martindale banned from going to Great Yarmouth after starting fire at Market Gates shopping centre - Credit: Archant

A man with more than 30 arson attacks on record will only be able to carry one lighter and has been banned from Great Yarmouth after starting a fire at a shopping centre.

Mark Martindale, 36, of Swaffham Road, Wendling,  who has a long history of starting fires, mainly to wheelie bins in the Great Yarmouth area, admitted arson on August 26, last year, when he set fire to rubbish behind a store at the shopping centre.

Sentencing him at Norwich Crown Court, Judge Andrew Shaw told Martindale, who had 32 offences of arson, that he was putting a range of measures in place to protect the public and try to stop him re-offending.

He told him: "Generally you set fire to wheelie bins at commercial premises and in the past the courts have tried many different ways of bringing this behaviour to a halt."

He said that past sentences including short prison terms had not worked but he hoped the measures he imposed would stop his offending otherwise he would face an indeterminate jail sentence next time.

He imposed a three year community order and also ordered Martindale to wear an electronic tag to keep an eye on his movements.

Martindale was also made subject to an indefinite criminal behaviour order under which he must not go to Great Yarmouth, and must not be in any public place with any fire accelerant apart from one cigarette lighter.

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He told Martindale: " Now is the time to grasp the nettle."

Judge Shaw also asked for regular updates to be provided on the progress of Martindale.

At an earlier hearing, Ian James, for Martindale, said that a psychiatrist's report showed that Martindale had no intention to harm anyone.

Mr James said: "He is more of a nuisance than a danger. He has never harmed anybody."

He said that Martindale often started a fire just to get arrested.

Mr James said: "He does these things just to get arrested in moments of trauma."

He said the best way forward was for there to a constructive intervention which also safeguarded the public.

He said that alcohol was a factor and that Martindale needed intervention.

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