POLICE went to investigate a large fire at the back of a house in the early hours and found a man burning insulation from copper wire.
Daryl Forster started the blaze at his grandmother’s home in Irvine Walk, Hartlepool, before officers, who saw the flames, went to investigate.
The 20-year-old told police he was burning an old wardrobe, but when the fire was put out, a large amount of wire was discovered underneath a piece of wood.
A separate pile of wire was also found cooling down, near the site of the blaze.
Prosecuting, Helen Kesterton told Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court: “It was 2.30am when police saw a large fire in Irvine Road.
“Police contacted a woman occupant who was the grandmother of this defendant. She was unaware that there had been a fire started.
“The officers entered the property and saw the defendant coming down the stairs and he told police he’d started the fire in order to burn an old wardrobe.
“The fire was extinguished and underneath a big piece of wood there was a large amount of copper cable.
“There was also a pile of wire found to the side of the fire which was cooling.”
She added: “The defendant couldn’t give a satisfactory account of where he got the wire from and said he’d picked it up.
“In interview he made no comment to all questions put to him.”
Forster, of Irvine Road, pleaded guilty to a charge of burning controlled waste contrary to the Clean Air Act, namely burning insulation from a cable in order to get the wire from inside, on October 19.
John Relton told justices that his client was not doing anything “sinister”.
He said: “The wiring was among some other things, including an old wardrobe, that he was burning in his grandmother’s back garden.
“It was nothing more sinister than that.”
Chairman of the magistrates’ bench Margaret Sleeman fined him £65, ordered him to pay £40 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.