Arsonists get prison term cut

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TWO men jailed for an arson attack which caused over £40,000 worth of damage to a supermarket in Swallownest have won appeals against their sentences.

Luke Simmons and Daniel Talbot set fire to cardboard outside the Co-op on Main Street, Swallownest, which spread to the shop damaging food and other items.

The men, both 18, were sentenced to a year in a young offender’s institute after pleading guilty to arson in March.

But they are to be free before the end of the month after their sentences were halved at the Court of Appeal by Mr Justice Collins and Mr Justice Calvert-Smith.

Mr Justice Collins said the pair, who share a cell, had responded well to being put behind bars.

The court heard Talbot, of Meadowbank Road, Kimberworth, had been trying to get cash from an ATM near the store in the early hours in October 2010.

When he failed, he and Simmons, of Pembroke Street, Holmes, stared the fire.

The court was told that although they had not intended the fire to spread, flames breached the building.

Firefighters were called and managed to save the building, but machinery and food worth about £46,000 were damaged.

Mr Justice Collins said: “There is always a risk in the commission of an offence such as this.”

“But, having regard to all the circumstances and having regard to what we have been told about the way in which they have behaved in prison and the effect of what they have served so far, we take the view that we can reduce the sentences.”

The judges cut the sentences to six months, but as they will only serve half of that before being released on licence, they will be freed before the end of the month.