Serial firestarter gets another jail term

A serial firestarter jailed over a Cumbernauld nursing home blaze has been handed another long prison stretch for torching a social work car.

Monday, 29th October 2018, 11:23 am
Updated Monday, 29th October 2018, 11:33 am
Serial arsonist is jailed - again!

Spiteful Alan Beck was sentenced to four-and-a-half years at Hamilton Sheriff Court this week.

He targeted the vehicle after North Lanarkshire Council staff refused to give him money. The flames engulfed a ventilator unit on a wall of the social work offices, but luckily the fire was brought under control before it could spread to a block of 20 flats.

Beck was jailed for 45 months in 2009 for setting fire to a number of homes in Cumbernauld.

Then in 2012 he appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh where he admitted that, while out on early release, he started four fires in the new town, including one at Rannoch Lodge Nursing Home.

He set fire to curtains in the care home which led to 43 elderly people being removed to safety. Luckily, there were no casualties.

Beck was sent to prison for four and a half years on that occasion with the judge ordering that he be supervised in the community for a year after his release.

Now he has admitted setting alight and destroying a £10,000 Toyota Yaris in Main Street, Wishaw, in the early hours of February 10 this year.

Beck, 38, a prisoner at Addiewell, also admitted possession of a knife in Caledonian Road, Wishaw, on May 5.

Referring to the latest fireraising, Vish Kathuria, prosecuting, said: “He was observed on CCTV to walk in the direction of a bin shed. Slightly out of shot was a Toyota Yaris and a few minutes later, after Beck left the bin shed, smoke could be seen.

“Firefighters were called and they found the car on fire. Paper and cardboard had been taken from the bins, stuffed under the vehicle and set alight.

“The flames had spread to a ventilation unit above the vehicle, attached to the wall of the social work offices.

“The blaze was brought under control before it could spread to the building.

“A social worker identified Beck from the CCTV and explained he was a service user who had relied on the department for financial assistance.

“He had attended at the offices a week before this incident and had been refused money. That had angered him and might have been his motivation for this offence.”

Beck was detained in relation to the fire, but was then released and a few months later was caught staggering near Wishaw town centre in the early hours with a nine-inch knife.

Defence agent Nicky Matteo suggested Beck could benefit from psychiatric help. Sheriff Daniel Kelly backdated the latest sentence to May 8 as Beck has been in custody since then.