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Bury St Edmunds Cycle King fire starters Dysney Sibbons and Ashley Finley sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court

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Two men who started the fire that destroyed Cycle King and damaged two other businesses in Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds, have avoided jail.

Dysney Sibbons, 23, of Elmsett Close, Stowmarket, and Ashley Finley, 25, of Borley Crescent, Elmswell, both previously pleaded guilty to arson.

The fire on September 29, 2017, caused a combined £1.6million worth of damage to bike shop Cycle King - where both men then worked - and neighbouring restaurant Francela and the One Bull pub.

Firefighters tackling the fire at Cycle King on Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds Picture by Andy Abbott
Firefighters tackling the fire at Cycle King on Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds Picture by Andy Abbott

The fire sparked when the pair were working in the shop. They tried to 'cremate a mouse' in the stockroom using an accelerator to 'alleviate boredom' on a slow afternoon in the absence of their manager.

Judge David Pugh described the act as 'mind boggling stupidity' but accepted the pair had not intended the consequence or their actions.

Back in Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday (July 25), the pair were both given a sentence of eight months imprisonment suspended for 18 months, as well as an unpaid work requirement of 280 hours. They will also pay £1,500 towards prosecution costs. Finley, who is in employment, has three months to do so and Sibbons, who is not, has six months.

Ashley Finley
Ashley Finley

Christopher Wing, prosecuting, said: "Sometime between 4.15pm and 4.30pm the shop manager Andy Croston went out for a haircut. It was a quiet day and they were bored. There had been a problem with mice and they found a dead one in the shop, which they put into a cardboard box and took it to the store room, and decided to set fire to it. They believed they had extinguished it and moved to the front room. However, the fire had not been extinguished."

The court heard a customer called 999 at around 4.55pm and when the fire service arrived, the pair were seen pulling stock out of the shop, now very much ablaze, onto the pavement. Warren Rodwell, of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, had provided a statement to say the pair had confessed at the scene, the 'first time in history someone had admitted to starting a fire'. Police then arrived and the road was closed.

Stephen Mather, representing Sibbons, said his client had suffered with anxiety as a result - is now providing for a two-year-old child, and hopes to return to return to work later this year.

Stephen Dyble, representing Finley, said both men are 'remorseful', 'unlikely to reoffend' and said the destruction caused was 'unforseen'.

Finley and Sibbons, who both wore a dark suit and white shirt, spoke only to confirm their names. Members of their families were also in attendance.

Judge Pugh said: "This incident occurred two years ago when you were in your early 20s - and you have shown previous good character.

"To alleviate boredom you decided to cremate a dead mouse, using an accelerator, in a room surrounded by flammable material. It was an act of mind boggling stupidity. The risk was clear and obvious.

"However, it is clear the fire was not started with the intent of causing damage. Thankfully nobody was injured, although there was a significant economic and personal loss."

The blaze was tackled by 12 fire crews and took 60 firefighters seven hours to bring under control.

Detective Sergeant Paul Cappleman from Bury St Edmunds police station said: "Both Sibbons and Finley will have to live with their irresponsible and dangerous actions for the rest of their lives. The fire caused extensive disruption to motorists, pedestrians and residents in the Angel Hill area of town and widespread damage to two neighbouring business premises that were flooded with water.

"It is very fortunate that no-one was seriously injured or died in the fire and to see both individuals sentenced for their reckless and immature behaviour is what they deserve.”